Yet there is something inherently wrong with a law that calls for the execution of an individual who chooses to renounce their religion. At the heart of the matter is an individual’s fundamental, and highly personal, choice of belief. The Koran makes it clear that “there is no compulsion in religion,” and nowhere does it prescribe death for an apostate.Nowhere? Well, if you're adamant about that, Sheema, I guess we'll have to give you the benefit of the doubt.
Or not. (Here's Sheikh Qaradawi on the subject of apostasy meriting a death sentence:
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.” There is only disagreement over whether the law applies only to men, or to women also – some authorities hold that apostate women should not be killed, but only imprisoned in their houses until death.)On the other hand, Sheema knows that change is slow to come among the die-hard and the hidebound, and says maybe it's expecting too much to see it manifested in this poor Sudanese woman's case. Furthermore, such expectations--dun-dun-dun--could even make things worse:
While times have changed, views rooted in medieval Islamic law have not. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 20 countries – all with a Muslim majority – prohibit apostasy. Pew has also found that a majority of Muslims in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Malaysia, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian territories favour the death penalty for apostates.
This is problematic, that large numbers of Muslims view a highly personal religious choice as a political statement punishable by death – a view shaped by history more than by the tenets of the faith itself.
But asking Muslims to simply discard their faith and join 21st century secularism, or denigrating medieval Islamic laws will only harden attitudes. Another way forward is a reformative path that affirms the fundamental sources of Islam, namely the Koran and the example of the Prophet, in light of the 21st century.Yeah, I'm sure that that will do the trick.