I just did a segment of the Laura Ingraham Show, debating Dr. Esam Omeish, president of the Muslim American Society. I didn’t get the chance to give prior notice here, but I understand it will be broadcast again later today.
A few observations: I pointed out that every school of Islamic jurisprudence teaches that it is the responsibility of the Muslim community to wage war against unbelievers in order to establish the hegemony of Islamic law. Dr. Omeish in response said that yes, Islam must be spread all over the world, but the primary way to do this was through preaching. I responded, referring to the hadith Sahih Muslim 4294, that Muhammad commanded preaching first, but warfare against those who rejected the message. Dr. Omeish said this was a misrepresentation of Islam, but offered no supporting evidence for his position.
A little while later Laura Ingraham referred to the case in Malaysia where Lina Joy, a convert to Christianity, is having such a hard time, including death threats. I explained that this resulted from the traditional Islamic death penalty against apostates, and quoted Muhammad’s dictum, “If anyone changes his religion, kill him.” Ingraham then asked Dr. Omeish if Sharia indeed mandated death for apostasy. He said flatly that it didn’t, whereupon I said, “He’s lying!” but I don’t know if my mic was on.
Dr. Omeish offered no evidence for his position. Here is evidence for mine:
1. Muhammad legislated for his community that no Muslim could be put to death except for murder, unlawful sexual intercourse, and apostasy: “The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims” (Bukhari 9.83.17). He said flatly: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57).
2. Muslim governments and people seem to understand this well. Here are some recent pertinent news items — leaving aside the famous Abdul Rahman case in Afghanistan:
I would, of course, be happy to debate Dr. Omeish at greater length. If Dr. Omeish or his representatives are reading this, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.