This is highly unusual: an establishment media outlet noting (and at great length, too) the plight of people who leave Islam. Watch for ABC Australia to be inundated with charges of “Islamophobia.”
The death penalty for those who leave Islam is based upon the Qur’an: “They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper.” (Qur’an 4:89)
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.”
Nonetheless, there is a growing group of courageous ex-Muslims who are standing up and speaking out. One of them operates the excellent new site ex-Muslim.tv, where he collects and presents videos of ex-Muslims explaining why they left Islam despite the risks, and who speak out now for their rights and human rights in general.
Ex-Muslim.tv is an extraordinary and worthy effort, especially in our strange age in which Islam is everywhere celebrated in the establishment media, without any attention paid whatsoever to the lives destroyed by its death penalty for apostasy, its institutionalized oppression of women, its Jew-hatred, etc. Please bookmark this site and visit it often, and contribute if you can to this important effort.
“Secret ex-Muslim network in Australia fear disownment and abuse,” by Jennine Khalik, ABC.net.au, June 10, 2018 (thanks to Kenneth):
…They are members of an underground network of former Muslims across Australia, caught between secularism and Islam. Some fear persecution if their loss of faith is discovered, some fear for their lives.
Melbourne local Aisha* is one of more than 70 members of the network spread across the country.
Aisha was cut off from her family three years ago when things took a dark turn after she removed her hijab.
“I never actually told my parents I was an ex-Muslim because I was scared of their reaction,” she said.
“The most that happened was when I took my hijab off, one of my friends put a photo on Facebook and my parents ended up seeing it.
“They were pretty upset and said I was obviously just a whore who would end up dead in the gutters.”
She said her parents, whom she described as “moderate, even liberal”, turned physically violent and police got involved.
Aisha, in her 20s, was forced to move out of the family home.
“My parents were claiming I was a compulsive liar.”
Her identity has been protected because she is still afraid of possible consequences, like most people in this network.
“When you think about it, over a billion people still follow Islam. If it brings them comfort let it bring them comfort. I think the issue is when it starts to infringe on our right to live,” Aisha said.
The members we met recounted stories of either being disowned by family, forced into silence, shamed or demonised by community leaders and clerics, and having to pretend they were Muslim to avoid issues.
The abuse can be psychological, verbal, physical, and also financial for those who are dependent.
For many Australians, it is not unusual to be casually open about their atheism or agnosticism. Thirty per cent of Australians described themselves as having “no religion” in the 2016 census.
But it is different for many who have been raised Muslim.
In the last census by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, ex-Muslims in the secret group still embedded in their communities chose Islam as their religion because answering the census was a household activity.
Group members who spoke exclusively to the ABC said they led double lives and were afraid of “coming out”. Many maintain a Muslim exterior at home, at work, in their communities, and at mosques.
Nadia*, another network member based in Melbourne wore a niqab — the face veil — when she was practising.
She runs an anonymous blog called Nullifidian, where she writes about her experiences being home schooled and raised in a strict Muslim household.
Nadia, in her 20s and also ostracised from family, covers her hair and most of her face in online videos in order to remain disguised and anonymous.
She told the ABC Australian ex-Muslims had a simple wish.
“Ex-Muslims just want to live their life how they need to without fearing disownment, isolation, imprisonment or death,” she said.
In one blog post, she explained: “I choose to remain anonymous online because although I live in a western country, I have endured so much abuse and threats from the Muslim community where I live.
“I also choose to remain anonymous because I have previously been doxxed by Muslims who went as far as to try and get me fired by contacting my workplace.”…
In a Koranic verse, it says there is “no compulsion in religion”. In another, it states apostasy is punishable by death and there are several mentions of hellfire as punishment for disbelievers in the afterlife.
There are several hadith — sayings of the Prophet Mohammad — that are broadly agreed to be “authentic” and “correct” by Sunni Muslim scholars that also state leaving Islam is a sin punishable by death.
In 23 Muslim-majority countries, apostasy is a crime. In 13 of those countries, apostates get the death penalty, however in some of those countries, it is not enforced by the state.
While there is some protection given to freedom of religion in the Australian constitution, ex-Muslims still choose to be careful because the price to pay for leaving the faith can be high.
And the community they now fear, they used to call their own.
Sydney scholar Sheikh Ahmed Abdo said: “You could easily pick and choose verses from the Koran and shape whatever narrative you want … if they’re not taken in a holistic manner.”
He said apostasy carried a capital punishment in classical Islamic legal manuals, though added: “The punishment for apostasy is usually included in sections dealing with rebellion and political warfare.”
“People are free to choose to embrace Islam or leave Islam, just like they’re free to make choices in how they live their lives.”
He added: “No-one should be calling to kill an apostate in lands where Islamic law is not applied.”
Echoing this was Mr Kadri from the Islamic Council of Queensland who said he put the questions the ABC asked to Islamic scholars.
“As Muslims, we abide by Australian laws and in Australia apostasy is not a crime,” he said.
“[The] Koran is highly contextual. Only the extremists — Muslims and non-Muslims — use such verses out of context to further their agendas.”
He said the verse was, “contextual to a time of war and turbulence”.
“No mainstream Muslim scholar in Australia has ever advocated for such punishments,” he said.
“Every faith considers leaving of that faith to be a sin and it is not illegal to believe so.”…