Monday, 21 April 2008

When Muslims become Christians

When Muslims become Christians (BBC News, Monday, 21 April 2008)

The BBC could raise the average intelligence of its journalists by recruiting Miss South Carolina.

The introduction reads:
There's a widespread belief that the penalty for leaving Islam is death - hence, perhaps, the killing of a British teacher last week. But Shiraz Maher believes attitudes may be softening.

One would then expect evidence, however circumstantial, that apostasy is becoming more accepted in the Islamic world, and that prosecution of converts to say Christianity is less frequent than some time in the past. Regrettably, the text is one long string of non sequiturs. It is reported that some imams hold the Quran does not dictate that apostates should be punished, but it is not clear whether this was any different say 5, 10 or 100 years ago.

Shiraz Maher is guilty of two more fallacies. The first is that he equates a religion with the main text on which it is based. A religion is much more (and often much worse) than any text, by including various practices that have established themselves through many generations, sometimes as particular interpretations of the holy texts and sometimes based on independent sources altogether. The issue here is that Sharia is based on the Quran, Hadith, etc., and generally prescribes the death penalty for apostates.

The second fallacy is to expect anything good will come out of a more 'truthful' interpretation of the Quran (or Hadith, etc.) and a corresponding change in the attitudes of Muslims. How nice that the Quran does not dictate the death penalty for apostates per se. But at the same time Sura 9:5 is interpreted by some as a license to kill all unbelievers, which one may assume includes apostates. The alternative interpretation of that verse as referring to only one time and place is wishful thinking by apologists more than anything else. And let's not forget the punishments mentioned by the Quran and various Hadith for homosexuality, adultry, blasphemy, etc. As a frequent fornicator, I wouldn't really appreciate one hundred lashes if Sura 24:2 were put into practice as it was intended.

Yours truly,

A fornicating pig, ape, mule, or worse. (And a passionate blasphemer.)

Recommended reading: Islam for pigs, apes, mules and other beasts

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