M. Cherif Bassiouni, Distinguished Professor Of Etc., writes as follows:
“It is my position that the application of the death penalty for apostasy, meaning a conversion to another faith or a loss of faith, should under no circumstances be subject to criminal sanctions, let alone the death penalty.”
This statement, if read as written, is a declaration by M. Cherif Bassiouni, Distinguished Prof., Etc., that the “application of the death penalty for apostasy” should “under no circumstances be subject to criminal sanctions” — meaning, if Muslims carry out a death sentence on apostates from Islam, those Muslims who follow what M. Cherif Bassiouni, Dist. Etc., agrees is the unanimous view of the four schools of Sunni Jurisprudence, they should not be punished, least of all be subject “to the death penalty.”
I know what you are thinking. You are thinking he did not really write that, that I have misunderstood. No, I don’t think so.
And the main point remains: Islam, the Four Main Schools of Sunni Jurisprudence, prescribe the death penalty for apostates. The fact that M. Cherif Bassiouni, D. Etc. does not agree means nothing, changes nothing about the beliefs of more than a billion people, and M. Cherif Bassiouni knows this. He is substituting his wish, his veiled velleities, for the reality of Islamic doctrine. This he is not entitled to do. This cuts no ice in the Muslim world, and it should come as no relief whatsoever to worried non-Muslims.
As for M. Cherif Bassiouni’s expression of deep dismay that his interlocutor, “David,” would find the fact that Muslims — whether, through no fault of their own, born into Islam, or whether, through assorted inveiglings and self-inveiglings, converts to Islam — cannot leave Islam without running the risk of being killed, at least if those wishing to leave Islam live in countries where Muslims now rule, that is itself extraordinary. He alludes to similar terrible things in Judaism and Christianity, yet offers no examples. And he offers no examples because, as he knows perfectly well, in neither case can he find — nor could be have found, for the past thousand years at least — anything nearly as horrifying or as objectionable.
What is a cult and what is a religion? Hard to say. Is a religion merely a cult that has enough members to avoid being called a cult? Or is a cult something that requires constant reinforcing brainwashing, constant discouragement of free and skeptical inquiry, constant insistence that the individual Believer is a mere slave of the deity he is asked to worship, and that he owes his loyalty to the collective, and to the faith itself, and if he dares to begin to question it, that very act is one of disloyalty, and if he questions it enough so as to desire to leave that faith, having not received or discovered answers that he deems satisfactory, then he can be killed.
That is not a minor matter. That is perhaps the single most important thing to know about Islam. If you know nothing else, know this: you can get in, but you can’t get out without putting yourself in mortal danger.
What else do you need to know?
One more thing anent M. Cherif Bassiouni.
Note this remark that remains unelaborated but clearly means that there is a kind of Apostasy Plus which amounts to Treason and therefore, in M. Cherif Bassiouni’s view, is punishable by death:
“I take the position that a sound interpretation of the Shar”ia leads to the conclusion that apostasy is not a crime punishable on earth and certainly not punishable by the death penalty, unless apostasy is defined as high treason (and has the legal elements of that crime), in which case it would be punishable by death. Almost every country in the world has a law or statute to that effect. We do in the U.S in Title 18 United States Code and in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
He is attempting to smuggle in the notion, that other Muslims have also suggested, one that while they can accept the idea of not killing apostates, it all depends on how the apostates behave. In other words, if an apostate is noisy about his apostasy, if he (or she) writes articles, or a book, about why she (or he) left Islam, if he or she were to write as Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Wafa Sultan or Ibn Warraq or Ali Sina have all written, about Islam, then this — I am quite sure that this is what M. Cherif Bassiouni is slyly hiding as he simultaneously slyly reveals — can be considered “treason” to Islam.
In other words, you must observe the Code of Silence, the omerta of the Sicilian Mafia (and the Parthenopean Camorra, and the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta). If, however, you dare to give heart, or weapons, to the Enemy — the Enemy being, implicitly in M. Cherif Bassiouni’s slippery formulation, non-Muslims (he’s a past master at this kind of thing, as all Muslims living, and speaking, and writing in the West must eventually come to be, for the job of defending and protecting by hiding the essential contents of the texts, and the tenets, and the attitudes, and the atmospherics, of Islam is a tall order, and requires work) — by telling too much, spilling too many beans, then this, I feel M. Cherif Bassiouni would agree, amounts to Treason, and is punishable by death. And so he says, in a kind of mick-mockery of Sura 5.32 (Giving) which is immediately followed by Sura 5.33 (Taking), he makes the following astonishing sly and false equivalence. He slips in, in the usual cunning way, what if you think about it is quite astonishing:
“[I don’t agree that apostasy, tout court, should be punished by death] unless apostasy is defined as high treason (and has the legal elements of that crime), in which case it would be punishable by death. Almost every country in the world has a law or statute to that effect. We do in the U.S in Title 18 United States Code and in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
Got that? Islam is like a country, and Islam can define “apostasy plus” — that is, apostasy plus saying bad (even if perfectly true) things about Islam — as “treason” and, in that case, according to M. Cherif Bassiouni, Dist. Pr. Etc., he apparently would find nothing wrong with application of the death penalty. And then he quite irrelevantly drags in the fact that countries, states, all define Treason, and punish treason. But the whole point is that Islam is not a country, but a belief-system. No other religion, or ideology called, faute de mieux, a religion, threatens to kill apostates — including apostates who say terrible things about Judaism or Christianity or any other religion they jettison. And I think that M. Cherif Bassiouni would be horrified if, say, Christians and Jews were to dare to punish by death those who ceased to be Christians and Jews, but became Muslims and, in doing so, said all kinds of bad things about Judaism and Christianity — the very same thing that Muslims normally say.
In Islam the apostate who says bad things, and the apostate who does not say bad things, about Islam, are equally punished. And M. Cherif Bassiouni knows this. But he would like you to focus on the fact that he doesn’t think the apostate who remains absolutely silent after his apostasy should be punished. On the other hand, it is clear that M. Cherif Bassiouni thinks that the apostate who does not remain silent, who is willing, and even perhaps eager, to warn non-Muslims about the contents of Islam, and what Islam inculcates, and what Muslims believe as opposed to what they pretend to non-Muslim audiences to believe, should indeed be killed, as a traitor, as one guilty of Treason. And M. Cherif Bassiouni notes that all the countries in the world — why, see U.S.C. Title 18, for god’s sake — contain, in their legal codes, condign punishment for what is defined as treason.
Or have I misunderstood M. Cherif Bassiouni? I don’t think so. I think I understand him perfectly.
And now, having read all of the various articles and postings about M. Cherif Bassiouni and his slippery attempts — with that outrage that comes when one has been caught out, and not let go — to persuade us that we should be more impressed by the fact that M. Cherif Bassiouni does not believe apostates from Islam should be punished with death, as long as they remain very quiet after their apostasy, then by what the four schools of Sunni jurisprudence teach, and that we should read hastily, and not take in, in his mention of “Apostasy Plus” — apostasy plus talking too much, revealing too much, about Islam — is that M. Cherif Bassiouni thinks it perfectly legitimate to punish by death.
Oh, he can bake cookies all he wants for visiting students, and he can exercise all his long-practiced wiles and guiles, that have gotten him this far. But the texts are there, the Qur’anic commentators are there, the historians of Islam are there, and the daily Jihad News that comes in from all over the world, has forced people, nolens-volens, to learn about Islam, and they no longer have the stomach, or the patience, to pretend to fall for the mixture as before, the blague and the rodomontade and the sly nonsense aimed at confusing and distracting. No, those days are over.
We’ve all had quite a bit — articles and postings — about M. Cherif Bassiouni, Dist. Res. Prof. Emer. Etc.. And now, having reached this far, I feel that I understand M. Cherif Bassiouni perfectly. And, possibly with the help of some observations made at this site, including mine (it pleases me to think so) so — at this point — do you.