Abdul Rahman became a Christian 16 years ago while working in Germany, but he was charged with rejecting Islam only in February, when his family denounced him during a custody battle over his two children.
Rahman, 41, is now in jail in Afghanistan and faces the death penalty unless he agrees to convert back to the faith in which he was raised, said the judge at the Shariah court. (Shariah is the legal code of Islam, based on the Qu'ran.)
"We will invite him again [to renounce Christianity] because the religion of Islam is one of tolerance," trial judge Ansarullah Mawlazezadah told the BBC on Sunday. "We will ask him if he has changed his mind. If so, we will forgive him."
The accused man's mental state will also be taken into account before the court passes sentence, Mawlazezadah added.
There is a certain measure of hope for Rahman, as an anonymous writer at Islam Online notes.
Prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi had said that all Muslim jurists agree that the apostate is to be punished. However, they differ regarding the punishment itself.
Well-known Azharite scholar Sheikh `Abdul-Majeed Subh had said that the punishment for apostasy is dependent on the public interest of the Muslim nation and the assessment of scholars to each case.
"If the apostate does not harm the Muslim society, there may be no need for killing him."
It just happens to be completely outrageous that he needs to feel wildly optimistic hope in order to believe that he might not be judicially murdered. Mawlazezadah's definition of tolerance clearly isn't congruent to any definitions of tolerance which might pass inspection by international human-rights bodies. More's the pity that he appears to be a moderate.
The people who are running Afghanistan right now happen to be Voltaire's wolves. These people control their country. As it happens, my country has helped put these wolves into power over their country.
Why are we Canadians still supporting them with armed force, again?