Afghanistan issues arrest warrant over "blasphemous" article

Afghanistan issues arrest warrant over "blasphemous" article

Oct 21, 2014

Kabul: Afghan president Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai vehemently denounced a “profane” article published in a Kabul-based daily as an insult to the entire Muslim community.

The English language newspaper, Afghanistan Express, published an article by AJ Ahwar with the headline “The Islam of the Taliban and ISIS”. The writer allegedly used insulting words against Allah, Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), and religion of Islam.

Chairing a high-level meeting, the president said the Ministry of Information and Culture was seriously investigating the ‘blasphemous’ opinion piece.

According to Pajhwok Afghan News, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah directed the ministries concerned to arrest the daily’s staff responsible for publishing the article.

The article drew strong condemnation from readers, lawmakers, civil society groups and former jihadi figures. Abdullah stressed respect for religious values as enshrined in the Afghan Constitution.

Abdullah called the article against religious beliefs and declared the government would seriously investigate it. He stressed respect for religious values as enshrined in the Constitution.

Acting Information and Culture Minister Makhdoom Rahin said the daily was not registered with the ministry and the article had not been published in Dari and Pashtu languages. He said the article was against Islamic beliefs and would be investigated.

Abdullah directed the culture and interior ministries to arrest the paper’s officials and bring them to justice.

Jalal Noorani, an advisor at the Ministry of Information and Culture, the Commission on Media Violations held a meeting on Monday and took a decision. However, he did not elaborate.

Noorani said the newspaper’s officials were likely to be introduced to the attorney’s office. He said they had always urged media outlets not to cross the limits and respect spiritual personalities, places, national interest and moral values.

Earlier, former jihadi leader Abdul Rab Rassoul Sayyaf in a statement called the author “apostate” and “disbeliever” and asked the government to seriously investigate the issue.

While apologizing for the grave mistake, the newspaper administration said its staff had published the article inadvertently, because the writer had long been a “credible” contributor.

According to the Afghanistan Media law, article 45, production, reproduction, print and publishing of works and materials that are contrary to the principles and provisions of the religion of Islam should be avoided.

Afghanistan Journalists Center asks the media to respect the law otherwise those who violate it should face the answer.