Islamic apologists in the U.S. routinely deny that Islamic law mandates that apostates from Islam be murdered. Unfortunately for the apostates, the facts are otherwise.
Muhammad, the prophet of Islam and supreme example of conduct for the Muslim (cf. Qur’an 33:21), said: “Whoever changes his Islamic religion, then kill him.” (Bukhari 9.84.57)
The Tafsir al-Qurtubi, a classic and thoroughly mainstream exegesis of the Qur’an, says this about Qur’an 2:217: “Scholars disagree about whether or not apostates are asked to repent. One group say that they are asked to repent and, if they do not, they are killed. Some say they are given an hour and others a month. Others say that they are asked to repent three times, and that is the view of Malik. Al-Hasan said they are asked a hundred times. It is also said that they are killed without being asked to repent.”
All the schools of Islamic jurisprudence all teach that a sane adult male who leaves Islam must be killed. They have some disagreements about what must he done with other types of people who leave Islam, but they have no disagreement on that.
The internationally renowned Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who has been praised as a “reformist” by pseudo-academic John Esposito, has said this about Islamic apostasy law: “That is why the Muslim jurists are unanimous that apostates must be punished, yet they differ as to determining the kind of punishment to be inflicted upon them. The majority of them, including the four main schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi`i, and Hanbali) as well as the other four schools of jurisprudence (the four Shiite schools of Az-Zaidiyyah, Al-Ithna-`ashriyyah, Al-Ja`fariyyah, and Az-Zaheriyyah) agree that apostates must be executed.”
“Two Afghan converts to Christianity risk the death penalty,” from Asia News, November 29 (thanks to C. Cantoni):
Kabul (AsiaNews) – Two Afghans accused of converting to Christianity could face the death penalty, a prosecuting lawyer said on Sunday. Musa Sayed, 45, and Ahmad Shah, 50, are being detained in the Afghan capital awaiting trial, the prosecutor in charge of western Kabul, Din Mohammad Quraishi, said.
“They are accused of conversion to another religion, which is considered a crime under Islamic law. If proved, they face the death penalty or life imprisonment,” Quraishi said. Sayed, a Red Cross (ICRC) employee, has already confessed. There is also “proof” against Shah, Quraishi explained.
Sayed and Shah were arrested in late May and early June, days after local television broadcast footage of men reciting Christian prayers in Farsi and being baptised, apparently in a house in Kabul. The TV station also showed some people engaged in proselytising, which is banned in the Muslim country.
The ICRC’s spokesman in Kabul, Bijan Frederic Farnoudi, confirmed that Sayed worked for the organisation since 1995. He also said that he was able to visit him in prison.
The government launched its own investigation into the matter and suspended two aid groups, Norwegian Church Aid (a Protestant organisation) and Church World Service of the US (which includes Protestants, Orthodox and Anglicans), after the TV station reported two of their members were proselytising.
The Afghan constitution, adopted after the fall of the Islamic Taliban in late 2001, forbids conversion to another religion from Islam and in theory can sentence those found guilty to death. However, no one has been executed in recent years for converting.
Fr Giuseppe Moretti, parish priest at the only Catholic church in Afghanistan, a chapel inside the Italian Embassy in Kabul, told AsiaNews that he knew nothing about the affair. He was certain that they did not convert to Catholicism.
“No one in the country was baptised by a Catholic priest because proselytising is banned by law,” he said.
“The Catholic Church has been present in the country since 1923 with a mandate to take care of members of the international Catholic community living here. It has always respected that [principle] to the letter.”
As for the anti-conversion law, Fr Moretti has nothing to add, except to reiterate that the Catholic community has always respected it.
“The Little Sisters of Jesus of Charles de Foucault, the Sisters of Mother Teresa and the Sisters of the Interreligious Community are present here, and they too respect the ban. We bear witness to our faith through our commitment and our lives,” he said.