Nov 13, 2007

An Afghan journalist missing around with Koran


Ghows Zalmay is a media professional. I know him for quite sometime. He has published a new translation of the Koran. Zalmay has been arrested after complaints from religious scholars that the new edition was un-Islamic. He was arrested on the border on Sunday while trying to flee into Pakistan. Demonstrators protested in two Afghan provinces against the new translation of the Koran into Dari, the second most spoken language in Afghanistan. Religious scholars are outraged at Mr Zalmay's new edition of the Muslim holy book.They say that it is un-Islamic, that it misinterprets verses about alcohol, begging, homosexuality and adultery.

They also complain that it does not contain the original version in Arabic as a parallel text for comparison. I have no idea why zalmay would do this, I have known him as somebody who would go with the stream as long as it serves his purpose. I don’t see no benefit for him in misinterpreting Koran. Zalmai was the head of the so-called journalist union and at the same time the spokesperson for attorney general, two conflict positions, especially when the attorney general is an anti media crusader.

The Afghan constitution enshrines freedom of expression, but for many Afghans that freedom has clear limits. Religion is a taboo, there is zero tolerance to people who talk about religion.