The Litmus Test – Death of Apostates

Any organisation or ideology that imposes a death sentence on people who leave it should not be funded by us.

There are several verses of the Koran that mention apostasy (leaving one’s religion, in this case specifically Islam). Such as, “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.” — Quran 4:89

Interpretations vary, but the general consensus, on verses such as the above, seems to be that apostates (people who leave Islam) should be executed.

Certainly many Islamic countries agree, because (depending on the stats you use) 23 consider apostasy a crime, and 13 call for the death penalty for the simple act of leaving Islam. Yet by contrast no non Islamic country calls for the death penalty for the act of leaving one’s religion.

If you think it is just the governments of these countries that think this way, then think again. A 2013 Pew Research Center report found that many Muslims thought that apostates should be killed, indeed up to 88% of Egyptians and 62% of Pakistanis. Though to be fair many other Muslims in other countries showed far less support for execution of apostates, for instance only 1 in 7 Lebanese felt this way. But considering the amount of Lebanese migration to Australia, a figure such as 1 in 7 is still of high concern.

Of course any religion that has such text is offensive, but it does appear that Islam is the only major religion that actually currently practices this. For instance, whilst I’m not aware of any similar Christian/other religion apostasy surveys, I think you would be hard pressed to find a Christian today who believes that the death penalty should be imposed, no matter how disapproving of apostasy they may be.

And considering that apostasy is still punishable by death in a number of Islamic countries there would be many who are trapped in this religion too afraid to leave.

On the other hand those who are voluntarily participant in this religion, support an ideology that does not allow others to leave, and therefore enforces rules on these others that they do not wish to follow.

Of course the argument goes that Muslims in the west don’t live under the same onerous rules, but to my mind that makes it worse, because they are getting to enjoy the freedom and benefits of a secular society whilst supporting a religion that enforces others to stay and imposes draconian rules on them.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one example, just because she left Islam and criticised it she is living under a fatwa of death.

But if you think this kind of extremism isn’t going on in Australia, then you only have to visit Bankstown to see it in action. Bankstown Library to be specific. A leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir was giving a speech there on Saturday (which begs the question, what is on for next week’s schedule at the library, a visit from the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, or perhaps a reading of Mein Kampf?  But I digress).

‘When asked, “Do you want to kill ex-Muslims?”, it is alleged that Uthman Badar, Hizb ut-Tahrir leader replied: “In Islam is clear that apostates do attract capital punishment, we don’t shy away from that.”’

Well of course the usual defence to any of us who would point out how wrong this is (apart from the cries of Islamophobia), is that Islam is so wonderful that no one would leave anyway. The other argument is that if Muslims had a problem with this why aren’t they speaking up (yes the blatantly obvious answer that they are too scared does not seem to register to those who would call us Islamophobes, though I guess the argument could be made that we, and the ex-Muslims, are indeed Islamophobic – afraid of Islam).

Well as it turns out some brave (very brave) ex-Muslims are speaking up. So courageous in fact they attended the meeting and have allowed their faces and names to be recorded on the news. They expressed their fears to a 7 News reporter who recorded the event.

One said, “The main reason that I left my own country was that I was worried about my own safety,” And now that I’ve come over here I know that they’re the same people, they’re already over here and they want me dead as well.”

Another ex-Muslim, “These people are making a willing choice to leave a religion that they don’t agree in, I made that choice three years ago, and for that you’re going to kill me.”

You can read more of their story at the link below.

This, by the way, is the same Hizb ut-Tahrir that a few years back wanted to hold a speech at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, called  “Honour killings are morally justified.” And more recently they are the group that SBS/ABC celebrity darling Yassmin Abdel-Magied turned to for advice after the resultant fallout from her recent famed Q and A spot where she stated her support for sharia. Currently a petition asking for her to be sacked has chalked up more than 30,000 signatures.

This report about Hizb ut-Tahrir has reaffirmed to me that there are indeed people who are compelled to live under this religion, and we need to rescue them from it, and we need to stop supporting this religion that enforces people to stay.

Yes there are many Muslims who are willing participants of this religion, but we must support those who are trapped in this religion, and not those who would support a religion that traps others.

So this is the litmus test for me, any organisation, or one that is backed up by an ideology that has the death sentence for people who leave it, should not be funded by us. Therefore Islamic organisations should not receive any funding or assistance from the Australian government.