Sunday, January 27, 2008

American Islamic Congress Slams Afghan Court over Journalist's Death Sentence

American Islamic Congress Slams Afghan Court over Journalist's Death Sentence

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 -- The American Islamic Congress today condemned an Afghan court for sentencing a local journalist, Sayed Parwaz Kambaksh, to death over the alleged crime of "insulting Islam."

AIC Executive Director Zainab Al-Suwaij issued the following statement:

"The death sentence for Sayed Parwaz Kambaksh is travesty of justice and a violation of the universal right to free expression. This ruling is an insult to all Muslims of conscience, who must demand his immediate release.

"Regardless of the content of the paper Kambaksh distributed, there is no excuse for this ridiculous court decision. We call on the Afghan government to release Kambaksh - and on the US government to demand the same.

"We need to show compassion and mercy, the two most important qualities ascribed to God. Journalists must be free to share information and exchange ideas, even if the result is sometimes hurtful.

"We support the Afghan Independent Journalists' Association's call for President Karzai to intervene and reverse the sentence. Journalists throughout the Muslim world should not let this incident deter them from pursuing independent reporting and exercising their right to free expression."

The American Islamic Congress ( is a civil-rights organization promoting tolerance and the exchange of ideas among Muslims and between other peoples. With the motto "passionate about moderation," the organization leads initiatives around the world and has offices in Washington, Boston, Egypt, and Iraq.

For more information and to arrange an interview with Ms. Al-Suwaij, please contact Jina Hassan at +1.617.266.0080.