Under Fire, Taliban Hardens Line ; Afghanistan's Rulers Yesterday Rejected Pardons for 24 Aid Workers Accused of Promoting Christianity

By Scott Baldauf writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, August 14, 2001 | Go to article overview

Under Fire, Taliban Hardens Line ; Afghanistan's Rulers Yesterday Rejected Pardons for 24 Aid Workers Accused of Promoting Christianity


Scott Baldauf writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


A spiraling controversy over the detention of 24 aid workers accused of trying to convert Muslims to Christianity has brought Afghanistan's ruling Taliban to a crucial threshold in its relationship with the outside world.

If convicted, the aid workers, with German-based group Shelter Now International, could face the death penalty under the Taliban's strict version of Islamic law. The detainees include eight foreigners from Germany, Australia, and the United States.

Taliban spokesmen say the SNI was caught "red-handed" with Christian literature, including Bibles and Christian films on computer disks.

The group denies charges of religious conversion.

The arrests come at a crucial time for aid-dependent Afghanistan, torn by two decades of civil strife.

International pressure on the Taliban is mounting as donor nations steadily reduce relief and development aid.

Adding to the pressure, are the next stage of United Nations sanctions announced last week, including international monitors in each of Afghanistan's neighboring states to guard against arms flows into Taliban territory.

The sanctions - imposed over the Taliban's unwillingness to hand over accused terrorist leader Osama bin Laden - do not apply to the movement's chief Afghan enemy. The Russia- and Central-Asia-backed Northern Alliance of Gen. Ahmed Shah Masood, which controls nearly 25 percent of Afghanistan from its base in the northern province of Badakhshan.

An internal debate

But potentially more important, the arrests intensify a debate within the Taliban over the future direction of the Islamic revolution.

Taliban moderates argue for lifting some of the religious edicts that the West finds abhorrent in order to bring more development. These include restrictions on education and freedom of movement for women and the treatment of Sikh and Hindu religious minorities. Moderates also opposed the destruction earlier this year of two giant, ancient Buddha statues considered cultural treasures by the United Nations.

Hard-liners, including the religious police and the army, argue that the Taliban is compelled to follow the Koran in creating a pure Islamic society, and that God will supply the needs of the Afghan people in accordance to their adherence to Islamic law. It is this internal power struggle that could determine future Taliban policy.

"I have no reason to doubt that the ideological struggle is going on in Kabul, but as far as certain basic fundamentals of Islam are concerned, such as religious conversion, there is really no difference between a moderate or a hard-liner," says Ejaz Haider, news editor for The Friday Times, a weekly newspaper based in Lahore, Pakistan.

The difference, he says, comes in how these groups implement laws. "If the moderates are in power, they might close down the aid group's offices and throw them out of the country. If the hard- liners are in charge, they are likely to put them on trial and send a strong message to the outside world that this behavior will not be tolerated."

The strong-message advocates appear to be winning out, for the moment.

A Taliban official yesterday ruled out pardons for the aid workers. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Under Fire, Taliban Hardens Line ; Afghanistan's Rulers Yesterday Rejected Pardons for 24 Aid Workers Accused of Promoting Christianity
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.