Apostates are seldom killed; whew

Nesrine Malik lets us know that all this fuss about death for apostasy is silly.

Reading AC Grayling’s latest article and listening to the protestations of the Council of Ex-Muslims, you would think that the death penalty is being gratuitously and frequently applied to those who renounce Islam or harbour thoughts of apostasy.

Oh. So if the death penalty is being purposefully and seldom applied to those who renounce Islam, there would be no reason for a Council of Ex-Muslims to exist and no article for Anthony Grayling to write? The death penalty for renouncing Islam is a bad thing only if it’s applied gratuitously and frequently? A rare and cautious execution for renouncing Islam is all right?

I have several friends and family members who are non-believers and apart from some efforts to return them to the straight and narrow or at least go through the motions of religious observance, they have not come into any physical danger.

One, that’s nice, but it tells us nothing. I have several friends and family members who have never been thrown into prison for writing a book someone didn’t like; that doesn’t mean no one has ever been thrown into prison for writing a book someone didn’t like. Two, efforts to coerce people to ‘return to the straight and narrow’ are intrusive and presumptuous enough; they’re nothing to boast of.

Although the Council of Ex-Muslims and AC Grayling depict the threat to life and limb as an indisputable fact, in reality there are differences of opinion among Muslim scholars (ostensibly the hard core of the religion) regarding the death penalty for apostates.

Oh hooray! Goody goody goody goody – some ‘Muslim scholars’ don’t think people should be killed for leaving Islam. Well I’m all of a heap; how liberal is that; I’m so impressed. Imagine if only some ‘Catholic scholars’ or ‘Jewish scholars’ thought people should be killed for leaving the Church or Judaism; imagine the Guardian publishing articles (even on Comment is Free) bragging of that.

Nawal El Sadaawi, a prominent Egyptian writer and social activist, has clashed several times with religious authorities and has even dismissed some of the rituals of the Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca) as pagan, but I do not believe she lives in any fear for her life.

Oh really. She should have looked that up before telling us what she ‘believes’ – in fact Nawal El Sadaawi does fear for her life.

Of course, there is always the possibility that violent individuals will take matters into their own hands, as in the case of the Nobel prize-winning writer, Naguib Mahfouz, but these are a minority found in all religions.

Really? Really? Violent individuals in all religions murder people for abandoning their religions? Who, where, when?

Rejecting Islam and being anti-Islam are two different things, as are rejecting religion and being anti-religion. One is a spiritual lifestyle decision while the other entails some action, some campaign to eject religion from public life.

No. Dead wrong. She could perhaps claim that leaving Islam and being anti-Islam are two different things, but rejecting and being anti are pretty much the same thing, and they are not ‘a spiritual lifestyle decision,’ they are a substantive cognitive decision. People ‘reject’ religions for reasons, and those reasons are often such as to make them anti the religion in question. One good reason for rejecting Islam is that it seems to motivate people to produce terrible stuff like this article.

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