Thursday, March 23, 2006


John Fund and Clinton Watson Taylor continue to break new ground on the blood-boiling story of the former Taliban spokesman at Yale.

Taylor digs up damning quotes from Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi and a telling photo:


Leave Islam, go to the gallows. That’s still the rule in Afghanistan, as we see in the sad case of Christian convert Abdul Rahman, on trial for his life there. (Michelle Malkin laid out his awful predicament in her column yesterday.) How is this still possible? Debbie Schlussel called the Afghani Embassy to ask that question and they laid the blame at the feet of “Mr. Shinwari, the Chief Justice, who is an old man and an intolerant Taliban remnant.”

It’s not the first time the Taliban has threatened Afghan Christians—or Americans—with execution. In late summer of 2001, as Al-Qaeda was planning their murderous venture, the Taliban was spinning their “trial” of eight foreign aid workers, including two Americans, and sixteen Afghan Christians whom they accused of secretly proselytizing—and who, it emerged, faced the death penalty.

How could the Taliban possibly justify such a barbaric practice? They didn’t really even try. According to Canadian Channel CTV, "Their priority was to propagate Christianity which they were not supposed to do here," as Sayed Rehmatullah Hashmi, an aide to the Taleban's foreign minister, told reporters.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! That name sounds familiar. Because the name of Yale’s prized “freshman” and former Taliban ambassador, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, is a pretty close match.

But it couldn’t be the same guy. No, Yale’s tame Talib is a “moderate”, a man who regrets the harsh things he’s said in his past (if not the ideology he embraced), a poor little lamb who “escaped the wreckage of Afghanistan”, an earnest family man starting his life over. Yale’s Hashemi was no blustering theocrat, but according to Yale’s then-Dean of Admissions, “a person to be reckoned with and who could educate us about the world.'' Besides, the spelling is a little different, right? It could some other Taliban fellow, right?

After all, the spokesman who was justifying the trial and likely execution of the missionaries wasn’t a sweet, thoughtful fellow like Yale’s prize catch. That guy at the press conference was one sick puppy, holding up “evidence” of bloodguiltiness like—gasp—a child’s Bible! That guy even joked about the prisoners’ crimes as he played a videotape seized from an NGO that had employed the captives:

"O.K., turn it on," said Rehmatullah Hashmi, a foreign ministry official. A television set—itself a forbidden thing—brightened into life. A movie called Jesus appeared, its narrator extolling "the good news of the Virgin Mother and the Savior's birth." Soon, a young Jesus was on screen asking precocious questions of startled rabbis. "That's enough," said Mr. Hashmi, who tried some levity to accompany the grave accusations. "We have to put it off. Otherwise, we will also be proselytizing."

Ha, Ha. You might be proselytizing. And then you’d have to be executed, too! Hilarious.

Fund reports:


In justifying its grant of a place to Mr. Hashemi, Yale has cited his approval by the State Department. And Yale's sole official statement says it hopes "his courses help him understand the broader context for the conflicts that led to the creation of the Taliban and to its fall. . . . Universities are places that must strive to increase understanding." That justification is unsettling to two women who will join voices at Yale tonight. Natalie Healy lost her Navy SEAL son Dan in Afghanistan last year when a Taliban rocket hit his helicopter. Ms. Healy, who notes that her son had four children of his own, is appalled at Yale's new student. "Lots of people could benefit from a Yale education, so why reward this man who was part of the group that killed Dan?" she told me. "I want to tell [Yale President] Richard Levin that his not allowing ROTC on campus is one thing, but welcoming a former member of the Taliban is deeply insulting to families who have children fighting them right now."

Ten days ago Ms. Healy met Malalai Joya, a member of Afghanistan's parliament, when she spoke near her home in Exeter, N.H. Tonight, Ms. Joya will speak at Yale on behalf of the Afghan Women's Mission. She is appalled that many people have forgotten the crimes of the Taliban, and was surprised to hear that Mr. Hashemi, who, like her, is 27 years old, is attending Yale. "He should apologize to my people and expose what he and others did under the Taliban," she told me. "He knew very well what criminal acts they committed; he was not too young to know. It would be better if he faced a court of justice than be a student at Yale University."

Mr. Hashemi probably won't be attending Ms. Joya's lecture tonight. He has dodged reporters for three weeks, ever since his presence at Yale was revealed in a cover story in the New York Times Magazine. Some claim he has fully repented his Taliban past, but in his sole recent interview--with the Times of London--he acknowledged he'd done poorly in his class "Terrorism: Past, Present and Future," attributing that to his disgust with the textbooks: "They would say the Taliban were the same as al Qaeda." At the same time, Mr. Hashemi won't explain an essay he wrote late last year in which he called Israel "an American al Qaeda" aimed at the Arab world. When asked about the Taliban's public executions in Kabul's soccer stadium, he quipped: "There were also executions happening in Texas."

Question: Does the NYTimes plan on running a follow-up or will it just pretend the firestorm doesn't exist?



Nail Yale
The Three T's
Give Yale the finger
A Taliban mouthpiece goes to Yale

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