The Islamic spokesmen in the U.S. who insist that Islam mandates no penalty for apostasy are no doubt jetting over to the West Bank as we speak, to clear up this Islamic court’s misunderstanding of Islam. “Palestinian Islamic court forcibly divorces West Bank couple after declaring them ‘apostates,'” by Diaa Hadid for the Canadian Press, January 20:
For more than a year, a Palestinian couple belonging to an Islamic sect rejected by many mainstream Muslims endured insults from some of their neighbours and even death threats while struggling to maintain a quiet existence in this West Bank town.
As word spread about them, things got worse. A local Islamic court branded them apostates and dissolved their marriage. The couple, Mohammed and Samah Alawneh, now live in legal limbo.
Their plight demonstrates the tensions between a still largely conservative Palestinian society and a Western-backed government expected by the international community to ensure democratic freedoms….
Memo to Diaa Hadid of Canadian Press: “Conservatives” do not generally forcibly dissolve the marriages of those who disagree with them on religious questions.
“It’s like we are still living in the Middle Ages,” said Mohammed Alawneh, 35. “They are deciding whether you are a believer or not. Whether you’ll go to heaven or hell — and whether you are an apostate.”
Followers of the Islamic Ahmadi Community are shunned by many mainstream Muslims because they recognize a 19th-century cleric as their prophet. A central tenet of Islam is that the Muhammad was the last prophet sent by God….
The Alawnehs converted to the Ahmadi sect separately six years ago, marrying in 2009. Both faced insults and death threats from Muslim preachers when news of their conversions filtered out, they said. Mohammed’s family renounced them. Some of Samah’s colleagues at the university where she works shun her, though others do not.
Then last year, a prosecutor in the local Islamic court, which regulates Muslim marriages, filed a complaint against them, accusing them of apostasy. They were found guilty in August, according to documents the couple showed The Associated Press.
The court forcibly divorced the couple by cancelling their marriage registration, because they were no longer considered Muslims.
The Alawnehs say the complaint against them was initiated by Mohammed Alawneh’s first wife, who was upset by his decision to take another wife. Islamic law permits a man to have up to four wives….
The Alawnehs said they would take their case all the way to the Palestinian Supreme Court. They said they feared a dangerous precedent has been set that could engulf not only people with unconventional religious views, but also the many non-practicing Muslims in the West Bank.
“If they open the door to declaring people apostates, anybody could accuse anybody,” said the young woman, her hair covered with a Muslim headscarf, her eyes widening in fear. “But I believe I follow the real Islam. They can’t break open my heart to see if I believe or not.”
Good luck with that.