The case of Abdul Rahman, the Christian convert from Islam, now facing the death penalty in Afghanistan, is getting lots of attention, as well it should.
Here's a great quote from columnist Mark Steyn, which I saw at National Review Online:
I can understand why the president and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would rather deal with this through back channels, private assurances from their Afghan counterparts, etc. But the public rhetoric is critical, too. At some point we have to face down a culture in which not only the mob in the street but the highest judges and academics talk like crazies. Abdul Rahman embodies the question at the heart of this struggle: If Islam is a religion one can only convert to, not from, then in the long run it is a threat to every free person on the planet.
What can we do? Should governments with troops in Afghanistan pass joint emergency legislation conferring their citizenship on this poor man and declaring him, as much as Karzai, under their protection?
In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" - the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:
"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
...Oh, and a tip of the biretta to Mark Anthony, who raised the matter of this issue, in his own, irenic way, several days ago on his site.