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What about researching what you're being "invited" to?

Reader comment on item: Insight into Obama's Middle East Policy?
in response to reader comment: Ianus, Plato, Dennis: Don't make a mockery of a genuine offer.

Submitted by jennifer solis (United States), Jan 8, 2009 at 20:52

Ibn Masud ~

Yes, you have invited others to your religion.

But, I think you will agree, for one to automatically accept this invitation, without having researched the basic fundamentals, current practices, relation of said religion towards government (and vice-versa), etc. would be foolish.

Today, apostasy in Islam is punishable by death in the countries of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan and Mauritania. In Pakistan blasephemy is also punishable by death. Not to mention innumerable "honor killings", around the globe, performed on behalf of Muslim families who wish to clear the family name of such dishonor.

There are some mind-boggling if not grotesque (at least for the majority of Westerners) practices in Islam - from child marriage (if it's equivalent to adoption, call it adoption), to burqas; female circumcision, to foot-baths in airports. Muslim men are permitted marriage to non-Muslim women but Muslim women are forbidden marriage to non-Muslim men; throwing your shoes is the greatest insult; etc. Other aspects are more main-stream: Shahadah (profession of faith), Salah (ritual prayer), Zakat (charity), Sawm (fasting), etc.

But with all this, two principles of Islam, for me, stand apart:

The command to kill those that leave Islam; and the command to kill those who don't convert to Islam.

Now, I know you'll perform the requisit explanation/excuse which so predictably Muslims launch into, trying to justify these two principles of Islam; your defense will sound something like - "There is no compulsion in Islam"; "Those who kill are murtad"; "Muslims are only permitted to defend themselves", etc.

First, on the subject of apostasy -

Quoting Sheikh Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt:

"These verses (Quran 109:6, Quran 18:29, Quran 2:256) from the Quran discuss a freedom that God affords all people. But from a religious prospective, the act of abandoning one's religion is a sin punishable by God on the day of Judgement. If the case in Question is one of merely rejecting faith, then there is no worldly punishment;

"If, however, the crime of undermining the foundations of the society is added to the sin of apostacy, then the case must be referred to a judicial system whose role is to protect the integrity of the society...According to Islam, it is not permitted for Muslims to reject their faith, so if a Muslim were to leave Islam and adopt another religion, they would thereby be committing a sin in the eyes of Islam. Religious belief and practice is a personal matter, and society only intervenes when that personal matter becomes public and threatens the well-being of it's members."

How in the world could converting out of Islam "undermine the foundations" and "threaten the well-being" of a society? Answer: if that society had abject fear and insecurity regarding FREEDOM OF CHOICE; and, if that society felt religious tyranny (in the guise of "judiciary intervention") was necessary to keep the "faith" of the "faithfull". I understand Islam believes in Theocratic Rule, but a "judicial system" ruling on apostacy? That's a tad much.

A few days later, the Grand Mufti issued another statement. Speaking in Cairo, Egypt (and in Arabic) -

"What I actually said was that Islam prohibits a Muslim from changing his religion and it's a crime that must be punished."

Imam al-Shafi'i (Arabic jurist, 767 AD - 820 AD) interpreted the Qu'ranic verse 2:217 as providing the main evidence for apostacy being a capital crime (punishable by death) in Islam. Execution for the men; stoning to death for the women.

In the Hadith, Abd-Allah ibn Masood said: "The Messenger of Allah said: 'It is not permissible to shed the blood of a Muslim...except...one who leaves his religion and separates from the main body of Muslims." (Sahih Al Bukary number 6484 and Sahih Muslims number 1676).

Ibn Abbaas said : "The messenger of Allah said, 'Whoever changes his religion, kill him." (Al-Bukhary, number 6922).

Regarding the killing of the "infidel", you've already in previous posts stated this is permisable only in defense of one's self. While there is obviously some argument in Islam as to what constitutes this "defense", and what doesn't, there is no debating that Paradise is guarenteed for those who "slay, and are slain" in Allah's name:

"Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the Garden (of Paradise): they fight in His Cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in Truth, through the Torah, the Gospel, and the Quran: and who is more faithfull to his Covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which ye have conclued: that is the achievement supreme." - Qur'an 9, 9:111

So, to die whilst killing is the "achievement supreme" in Islam? Gee, where do I sign up?

Today, Islamic Jihad, among other groups, have gone so far as to claim martyrdom ("Shaheed", "Istishhad") as a Sixth Pillar of Islam.

Bottom line, Islam is the only religion in human history that, according to it's scripture, rewards killing with Paradise; and, again, scripturally, instructs execution for apostacy.

Try and justify that any way you would like; it still reveals a tyranical, oppressive religion. A basic fundamental question of any religion is, arguably, "how does one get to Heaven (or Paradise)?"; another is, "what happens if I change my mind?"

In Islam, the answer to both these questions is: DEATH.

So, Ibn Masud, thanks but no thanks to your "invitation". Hey, while we're on the subject of "invitations", how about accepting mine?

"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved." - Acts 16:31

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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