Is Muslims Lawyers Association president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar an “extremist”? No. A hadith depicts Muhammad saying: “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.
This is still the position of all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, both Sunni and Shi’ite. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the most renowned and prominent Muslim cleric in the world, has stated: “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.”
Qaradawi also once famously said: “If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment, Islam wouldn’t exist today.”
“Apostasy not a right, Muslim lawyer says,” Malay Mail Online, April 8, 2016 (thanks to Thomas):
KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 ― Apostasy is not a constitutional right, a Muslim lawyer claimed today as he argued that freedom of religion does not include the liberty to leave a faith.
Writing in his column on Malay-language daily Sinar Harian, Muslims Lawyers Association president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said that Article 11 of the Federal Constitution merely accorded Malaysians the right to practise their own faith, but not to switch religions.
“Saying that apostasy is a right for Muslims is straying from the real purpose of the religion,” Zainul said.
“Article 11(1) of the Federal Constitution gives the right for everyone to practise their own religions. That means it gives the right for a Muslim to practice Islam, a Buddhist to practice Buddhism, and so on.
“But that same article does not give the freedom to change religions. Changing of religions must be done according to people’s own religions and according to law,” the lawyer added.
Article 11 of the Federal Constitution provides the freedom for every individual to profess and practice his or her own religion, subject to restrictions on non-Muslims from propagating their faith to Muslims….