A couple of updates regarding that religion of culture, grace and peace:
* Shahar Peer, an Israeli tennis player, has been denied a visa to enter the Islamic country of United Arab Emirates where a joint ATP and WTA tennis tournament (one which includes all the top 10 woman players) was scheduled. And to the shame of the tennis organizations, they went ahead with the tennis tournament.
WTA officials do say that the UAE's refusal to allow Israeli athletes will cause them to "review" their policies. But, what's to review? Pack up your rackets and go play somewhere where sportsmanship isn't trumped by hateful Antisemitism.
* In Afghanistan, an appeals court has just upheld 20-year prison sentences for Ahmad Ghaws Zalmai, a former spokesman for the attorney general, who published a translation of the Quran into an Afghan language and Mushtaq Ahmad, a Muslim cleric who signed a letter endorsing the translation.
But, in case you're thinking that 20 years in a sweltering, filthy Afghan prison is too harsh a punishment for such an action, remember that Afghan's religious leaders and the original prosecutor in the case had demanded the death penalty for all involved in the project!
Even the Chief judge invoked Islamic Shariah law when reading out the sentence, saying death would not have been an extreme punishment. "He who commits such an act is an infidel and should be killed" according to some interpretations of Shariah law, Qazizada said.
But apparently the judge was just brimming over with mercy that afternoon and so settled on a mere 20 years in prison.