He was accused of blasphemy after he downloaded a report from a Farsi website which stated that Muslim fundamentalists who claimed the Koran justified the oppression of women had misrepresented the views of the prophet Mohamed.
Mr Kambaksh, 23, distributed the tract to fellow students and teachers at Balkh University with the aim, he said, of provoking a debate on the matter. But a complaint was made against him and he was arrested, tried by religious judges without – say his friends and family – being allowed legal representation and sentenced to death.
This is, obviously, outrageous, but, also obvious, not at all unusual for 'Islamic courts'.
There is a petition. It's a small gesture, but we urge you to sign it.
[UPDATE]: Not too long ago, Dale made some very fine observations about this case:
Civilized people cannot accept this. The giving and receiving of offense is not and cannot be allowed to be a life-or-death matter. If it is "Islamophobic," "blasphemous," or merely "disrespectful" to affix the name "Mohammed" to all of my rolls of toilet paper, then so be it. I agree it is. It's a scurrilous, provocative, immature, and probably counterproductive thing to say. But it's nothing but words.
Respect gravitates to ideas and actions that deserve it, whether or not the respect is requested. Requiring respect is roughly as meaningful as requiring happiness or requiring love -- it doesn't work and it's a good thing it doesn't.
Killing people for impiety is indefensible barbarism, and is far more hurtful and dangerous than any series of words or any cluster of thoughts.
Indeed. Someone remind the Archbishop of Canterbury. Of course, he's busy campaigning to do important things like suppress 'thoughtless or cruel words'. Meanwhile, his colleague in Rome is doing the vital work of warning against the seductions of science.
Religion: building a better morality every day, in every way.