Thursday, April 30, 2009

Islam and the death penalty

At a conference in the United Arab Emirates hosted by International Islamic Fiqh Academy, a committee was formed to discuss "whether 'apostates' should face the death penalty."

Those opposed cite the Qur'an 2:256 which says "there is no compulsion in religion" (1,400 years of Islamic history to the contrary).

In favor was the Qur'an 4:80 "which urges Muslims to seize and kill those who turn away" as well as the Hadith which says that “Any [Muslim] person who has changed his religion, kill him.” There is also, of course, the fact that Muhammad himself ordered the execution of apostates.
"A prominent Saudi religious law professor, Muhammad al-Nujaimi, argued that scholars in the past did not differ substantively over punishing apostates. They only differed over how quickly the apostate should be executed – after three days, a week, or several months, he said."
The issue at stake was whether apostates should be punished by death. There was apparently no disagreement that they should be punished. For example, Iran's parliament voted for a provision that would punish male apostates with death but female apostates with life in prison (read the entire story at CNS News).

This aspect of Islam is fundamentally incompatible with foundational American values of freedom of speech and religion and America should do more to fight for the rights of Muslims to change their religion.

In my opinion, no Muslim who is not already a citizen of the U.S. should be allowed to become a citizen unless they affirm in writing the right of all Muslims to change their religion. No Muslim should be allowed to enter or remain in the United States on work or education visas who will not affirm in writing the right of all Muslims to change their religion.

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