Conversion away from Islam is forbidden on pain of death. Muhammad said: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57). The death penalty for apostasy is part of Islamic law according to all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence. Yet Muslim spokesmen such as Harris Zafar, Mustafa Akyol, Salam al-Marayati, M. Cherif Bassiouni, and Ali Eteraz (among many others) have assured us that Islam doesn’t punish apostasy. I expect that Zafar, Akyol, al-Marayati, Bassiouni, and Eteraz will immediately be jetting over to Khartoum to explain to the Sudanese authorities that they are getting Islam all wrong, wrong, wrong.
Two priests from the Coptic Orthodox Church in Sudan have been arrested after the religious conversion of a Muslim in the Islamist-run state, church sources said.
“I understand there was someone from the Arab origin that accepted Christ and was baptized by them,” leading to their arrest within the past few days, one religious leader told AFP.
Other religious sources confirmed the incident but Khartoum’s Coptic Bishop Elia was not immediately able to comment.
Under the 23-year Islamist regime of President Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s minority Copts have not experienced the violence suffered by their brethren in Egypt, where sectarian attacks surged after an uprising overthrew president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 and saw Islamists rise to power.
But a little-known group calling itself Al-Qaeda in the Nilien States sent a statement to Sudanese journalists on Tuesday threatening violence against Copts unless the woman who converted and was “kidnapped” by the Christians is returned.