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Death for apostasy? - Comments

PaulJ's Avatar Comment 1 by PaulJ

This is not to say that Muslim governments - and Arab ones in particular - have a tolerant view of apostasy but the death threat is invoked only rarely and more for political reasons rather than religion ones: to set an example or to save face as a proxy punishment for challenging the social or political status quo. While this is in no way acceptable, it is an extension of the general lack of enshrined civic human rights and evolved political institutions and processes - a historical, social and geo-political reality in many Muslim countries that makes a mockery of any comparison to the experience of those renouncing Christianity or Judaism.
I get it now. Apostates are only lightly killed. That's OK then.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 00:45:00 UTC | #252876

alexmzk's Avatar Comment 2 by alexmzk

only being killed once in a while is bad enough.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 00:50:00 UTC | #252878

Chris Davis's Avatar Comment 3 by Chris Davis

Riiight. In sum, then:

1) Only some apostates are killed
2) The 'death to unbelievers' calls are just suggestions, and not to be taken seriously.

CD

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 01:09:00 UTC | #252885

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 4 by Richard Dawkins

I once was part of a television discussion group with "Sir" Iqbal Sacranie, then Britain's chief unelected but government-recognized spokesman for the Muslim "community". I challenged him to deny that the penalty for apostasy in Islam is death. He hedged and fudged, and finally was forced to admit that it is. He tried to excuse it by saying that it is very seldom enforced, and only after the culprit has been given every opportunity to repent and return to the true religion. "Sir" Iqbal was the one, you may remember, who said that the death sentence against Salman Rushdie was "too good for him". He is the kind of "community leader" to whom the British government, Royal family and media continually suck up, for fear of being thought racist or "Islamophobic" if they don't.

Richard

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 01:15:00 UTC | #252889

Gruff Mckenzie's Avatar Comment 5 by Gruff Mckenzie

We should probably apply this kind of thinking in our schools and when parents complain just tell them to stop whining as only a few of the pupils will get killed...there's a difference between rejecting school and being anti school. Behaviour might improve.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 01:18:00 UTC | #252890

beeline's Avatar Comment 6 by beeline

...in reality there are differences of opinion among Muslim scholars (ostensibly the hard core of the religion) regarding the death penalty for apostates.

Exactly. We'd like there to be no difference of opinion, thanks. The Thought Police should be left in the world of fiction.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 01:19:00 UTC | #252891

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 7 by Steve Zara

Even if it is true that the death penalty for apostasy is rarely enforced, it is still a serious problem. Encouraging people to believe that others deserve to die is unacceptable. It is a form of incitement. The violent minority taking things into their own hands are the ones who are generally considered to have conformed to the letter and spirit of religious teachings.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 01:23:00 UTC | #252894

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 8 by Laurie Fraser

Now, could we have an article pointing out that extreme evangelical calls for abortionists to be killed are only an aberration, and in most cases those doctors aren't, in fact, assassinated, which makes it OK?

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 01:30:00 UTC | #252897

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 10 by Bonzai

This is the kind of moderate apologetics that Fanusi was talking about.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 01:31:00 UTC | #252899

Vinelectric's Avatar Comment 9 by Vinelectric

Ever heard of Salman Rushdie?


Anways, here is a famous quote from the Bukhari text (Book 84, Hadith 57)

Narrated by 'Ikrima:

Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to 'Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn 'Abbas who said, "If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah's Apostle forbade it, saying, 'Do not punish anybody with Allah's punishment (fire).' I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah's Apostle, 'Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'"


This is mainstream Muslim opinion. However the fact that the death penalty is not enforced is simply because the Sharia is enforced in only three countries in the region. Even so, the apostate is guaranteed everlasting hell fire an none of their good deeds (e.g giving in charity) can redeem them.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 01:31:00 UTC | #252898

Lemniscate's Avatar Comment 11 by Lemniscate

I don't see how Nesrine Malik can call religious freedom a noble endeavour, while saying that the threat of death for apostasy, even if not always enforced, isn't that bad, especially when it's more likely to be enforced on those who are politically active and have a chance of making a difference to religious freedom.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 01:37:00 UTC | #252901

Enlightenme..'s Avatar Comment 12 by Enlightenme..

[#4]
Don't forget 'Lord' Ahmed Richard, who, whilst is to be commended for;

[Wiki:] "Lord Ahmed was among the founders of The World Forum, an organization set up to promote world peace in the aftermath of the 9/11 with an effort to build briges of understanding between The Muslim World and the West by reviving a tradition of Dialogue between people, cultures and civilizations based on tolerance."

and;
"In November 2007 Ahmed was involved in a diplomatic effort to secure the release of Gillian Gibbons from custody in Sudan."

..was also recorded to have this to say on Rushdie, just last year:

On June 19th 2007 Lord Ahmed criticised the honouring of Salman Rushdie with a knighthood because of what Lord Ahmed saw as Rushdie's offensiveness to Islam. He was reported to have said, "It's hypocrisy by Tony Blair who two weeks ago was talking about building bridges to mainstream Muslims, and then he's honouring a man who has insulted the British public and been divisive in community relations.""This man not only provoked violence around the world because of his writings, but there were many people who were killed around the world. Forgiving and forgetting is one thing, but honouring the man who has blood on his hands, sort of, because of what he did, I think is going a bit too far." He also said on BBC Radio 4's PM programme that he had been appalled by the award to a man he accused of having 'blood on his hands'.

-----------------------
"the death threat is invoked only rarely"

Oh, ok, perhaps our criticism is a bit harsh then, carry on.
------------------------

Also on 'Sir' Sacranie's record:
January 3, 2006, Sacranie told BBC Radio 4's PM programme he believes homosexuality is "not acceptable", and denounced same-sex civil partnerships as "harmful". He said that bringing in 'gay marriage' did "not augur well" for building the foundations of society.

He was awarded an OBE in 1999 and a knighthood in the 2005 Queen's Birthday Honours for "services to the Muslim community, to charities and to..

..community relations." (!!)

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 01:46:00 UTC | #252904

Communist's Avatar Comment 13 by Communist

The article by Nesrine Malik is another typical example of bet hedging and the glossing over of serious ideological problems in religion. Once again I propose the Aleister Crowley test: Imagine that Malik's article was written by a supporter of a secular ideology that has at present or in the past supported violent percecution of apostates. What would the public reaction be in that case?

Imagine that I wrote an article about death penalty for contrarevolutionary activities. Imagine that I wrote about such a death penalty as part of law in the ideal Marxist state, is 'used only rarely', that there is a 'difference of opinion' among Marxist scholars, that there is a 'myriad of other factors' and so forth. Would I be off the hook then?

And Malik's last sentence about 'the prism of western experience' is just pandering to the fashion of postmodernism (wich is now fortunately fading).

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 01:51:00 UTC | #252905

Jay Cee's Avatar Comment 14 by Jay Cee

It is true that the death penalty is not enforced in the majority of cases, but the majority of cases occur either in western countries or in more liberal pockets in India and Turkey.

The lack of enforcement is due to a triumph of human nature which has managed to overide the dogma implanted in the minds of those infected.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 02:13:00 UTC | #252910

Vaal's Avatar Comment 15 by Vaal

I don't know why this is even a debate. Anybody who calls for any form of discrimination, never mind a death threat, against somebody who does not "kow-tow" to the fascist religion they have been bought up into, should be prosecuted every time, without fail.

Any religious leaders calling for death-threats should be incarcerated. The media should make it very clear that it is totally unacceptable and bigots like Iqbal Sacranie, sitting smirking on TV, while baying their sick poison as "holy script" should be put right every time. It is frankly unbelievable that any "racist" comment is jumped on as the "sin of sins", yet people who support murder in the name of their religion have people nodding their heads in the name of relativism. How repugnant, sick and self-destructive is that?

What a weak religion Islam is, to threaten the poor souls born into their religion, with foul murder should they choose to leave it, or criticise it. Mohammad was obviously terrified that his cult would evaporate upon his death, without his disgusting murderous threats.

Perhaps Ibn Sacranie should face a death threat for not worshipping the flying spaghetti monster?

Unbelievable that the "religion of peace" can not see the irony in the immorality of religiously sanctioned death threats based on the idolatry they accord a 7th century desert gangster called Mohammad? It beggars belief that people in the 21st Century are so credulous.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 02:16:00 UTC | #252911

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 16 by Steve Zara

Comment #266462 by Bonzai

I am not sure what point you are making. There are plenty who recognise the problem of moderate apologists. But, fortunately, relatively few who would suggest we take impractical suggestions from the extreme-far-right about how to deal with such problems.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 02:17:00 UTC | #252912

oasis-al-reason's Avatar Comment 17 by oasis-al-reason

I have several friends and family members who are non-believers and apart from some efforts to return them to the straight and narrow or at least go through the motions of religious observance, they have not come into any physical danger.


the death threat is invoked only rarely


Dear Madam Muslim Apologist, please proof read your articles carefully, else you do your contention ill service.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 02:25:00 UTC | #252914

Logicel's Avatar Comment 18 by Logicel

After reading this mush, I thought of the following:

Scott Altran is hugging himself with joy, chortling with gleeful satisfaction, crying out loud, someone understands my particular brand of intellectual waffling!!!

From mush you came, from mush you shall return.

When you have a vicious circle being set into motion by several components, feeding and supporting and urging itself along, tackling any of those components will increase the possibility of slowing/breaking such a vicious circle. If certain Islamic tenets are part of this viciousness, one can attack them without worrying if one is leaving something else out that is also feeding the vicious circle.

To use what seems lately to be a viral phrase on the Web, don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 02:35:00 UTC | #252917

mandelstam's Avatar Comment 19 by mandelstam

"The death threat is invoked......."

Is there more to say?

It is disgusting that this is treated as the thoughts of a reasonable person, that such a person and such thoughts are accorded respect.

Lost for words....

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 02:43:00 UTC | #252919

oasis-al-reason's Avatar Comment 20 by oasis-al-reason

RD said above :-

I once was part of a television discussion group with "Sir" Iqbal Sacranie, then Britain's chief unelected but government-recognized spokesman for the Muslim "community". I challenged him to deny that the penalty for apostasy in Islam is death. He hedged and fudged, and finally was forced to admit that it is. He tried to excuse it by saying that it is very seldom enforced, and only after the culprit has been given every opportunity to repent and return to the true religion. "Sir" Iqbal was the one, you may remember, who said that the death sentence against Salman Rushdie was "too good for him". He is the kind of "community leader" to whom the British government, Royal family and media continually suck up, for fear of being thought racist or "Islamophobic" if they don't.


I'd say its more to do with them (govt/royalty/media) knowing which side of the bread is buttered on. As an expat in the Middle East I witness dollops of butter slapped on daily. The oily kind.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 02:44:00 UTC | #252920

Dr Doctor's Avatar Comment 21 by Dr Doctor

Again, the point is missed in an eloquent way. Religion provides, quite happily, the excuse for violent acts whilst at the same time claiming to have a civilising effect.

Why is it so important to some to run the lives of others through threats and intimidation? Religion is the antithesis of live and let live, and gives the sociopath the tool of false piety.

Once you have decided that you no longer want to be part of a particular religion that should be it. Participating in a religion as a volantary act, an educated choice I am fine with. But apostasy is where Islam (and Scientology) steps over the line.

Once inside a religion, the arrogance of presuming that codes, ethics and dogmatic assertions on reality (that cracker is the body of christ) apply to those outside of that religion is breathtakingly oppressive.

Those that pander to this oppression, this arrogance earn nothing but my contempt.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 03:14:00 UTC | #252924

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 22 by Chrysippus_Maximus

Well, it's pretty easy to see why she wrote this. It's the same situation no matter what moderate Muslim you talk to. They experience cognitive dissonance when you bring up solid cases of clearly Islamic inspired/motivated/directly called for violence, hatred, etc. And this causes them to simultaneously rebuke violent Islam while deflecting any responsibility on the part of Islam for that violence.

But that's just not sensible. Not only is it a mild form of "No True Scotsman", it's not going to change matters any. Essentially it attempts to somehow shift the blame for continued violence on the part of Muslims to the very people who are loudly decrying this violence. To blame AC Grayling, LONG an opponent of Christianity (just read the relevant entry in his "The Meaning of Things"!) for "further alienating" Muslims... is ridiculous.

Yes, there are political, economic, social, etc., motivations for Islamic violence TOO, but so what? That doesn't make the sentences in the Qu'ran and the Hadith(s) any more sane.

Just ask Aqsa Parvez.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 03:53:00 UTC | #252927

dsainty's Avatar Comment 23 by dsainty

This is not to say that Muslim governments - and Arab ones in particular - have a tolerant view of apostasy but the death threat is invoked .... to set an example ... this is in no way acceptable ... lack of enshrined civic human rights


This is exactly the kind of article one might write if the author fears for their lives but still feels they have to make a fierce condemnation - in code. Bravo.

The clue is that no-one could possibly reasonably suggest that the threat of execution doesn't need to be taken seriously because those holding the axe won't always be in the mood for blood.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 05:22:00 UTC | #252941

Titania's Avatar Comment 24 by Titania

It serves only to frame the argument through the prism of western experience and alienates the real protagonists even further.


The argument must be framed through the prism of western experience and values; else we lose the argument before it has begun and three centuries of enlightenment is for naught. Also apostates continue to be killed for apostasy.

The "real protagonists" choose to be alienated because they wallow in the mush of their own religious thinking and indoctrination. Whenever and wherever religious justifications for anti-social rhetoric and conduct enter public discourse, it must be pointed out for what it is as AC Grayling, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and others are doing.

Even the author of this article, Nesrine Malik, who is trying to absolve moderates from blame for Muslim extremism, must be called out for thinking all is well since the death penalty for apostasy is invoked rarely. Has Malik not seen the rash of honor killings by Muslims in Western countries such as the Netherlands, the UK, Canada and even the US? Malik needs to take off her Muslim tinted glasses and see the world as it really is.

Rarely? Bah!

The United Nations Population Fund estimates that the annual worldwide total of honour-killing victims may be as high as 5,000 women.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honor_killing


http://www.boston.com/news/world/europe/articles/2006/01/16/for_muslim_women_a_deadly_defiance/

http://www.pbs.org/speaktruthtopower/rana.html

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2008/01/23/cstillwell.DTL

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 06:11:00 UTC | #252949

decius's Avatar Comment 25 by decius

AC Grayling and the Council of Ex-Muslims are distorting the picture and undermining efforts to bring change


Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and the Council of Russian Exiles are distorting the picture and undermining efforts to bring change in Stalinist Russia.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 06:29:00 UTC | #252953

OhioLen's Avatar Comment 26 by OhioLen

I have several friends and family members who are non-believers and apart from some efforts to return them to the straight and narrow or at least go through the motions of religious observance, they have not come into any physical danger.


Translation: won't you please get back into the closet?

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 06:40:00 UTC | #252956

ColdFusionLazarus's Avatar Comment 27 by ColdFusionLazarus

Oh, ok, at least only one or 2 are being killed occasionally.

Of course, there is always the possibility that violent individuals will take matters into their own hands, as in the case of the Nobel prize-winning writer, Naguib Mahfouz, but these are a minority found in all religions

But not all religions hold that you should kill someone after they lose their faith. Islam strongly leaves this option open to any of their fervent believers.

When is this person going to come out and denounce the nasty things that are done in the name of Islam? And condemn them "every" time?

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 06:54:00 UTC | #252959

Tj Green's Avatar Comment 28 by Tj Green

Evolution has survival strategies why can`t religion?

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 06:59:00 UTC | #252963

KRKBAB's Avatar Comment 29 by KRKBAB

"at least go thru the motions of religious observance, they have not come into any physical danger"
What the hell!- so your saying, for the time being, we're not going to harm you for not coming back to our delusion, but there is a possibility that we WILL at some point harm you if we deem it?
Moderate schmoderate

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 07:15:00 UTC | #252966

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 30 by rod-the-farmer

And I suppose it would then be acceptable to say "Well, only rarely is the death penalty invoked against those who leave the Labour Party".

A pox on their house.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008 08:09:00 UTC | #252979