An appeals court in Afghanistan upheld 20-year prison sentences Sunday for two men who published a translation of the Quran that drove religious leaders to call for their execution.
The controversial text is a translation of Islam's holy book into an Afghan language without the original Arabic verses alongside. Muslims regard the Arabic Quran as words given directly by God. A translation is not considered a Quran itself, and it is believed a mistranslation could warp God's word.
A host of Muslim clerics in this conservative Islamic state have condemned the translation - which was published in 2007 and handed out for free - as blasphemous and accused its publishers of setting themselves up as false prophets.