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October 2, 2011
CAIR's silence on pastor's apostasy death sentence is deafening
Will Mainstream American Islam Condemn Pastor Nadarkhani's "Apostasy" Death Sentence? Where is CAIR? Where is the Islamic Society of North America?
Almost 90 years ago, in his 1924 The Law of Apostasy in Islam, Samuel Zwemer made these observations, regarding the post World War I "Arab Spring" of that era:
Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkani's chilling "apostasy" case illustrates, starkly, how Zwemer's remarks remain depressingly relevant today: the scimitar of Damocles hovers over Nadarkhani for his "crime" of converting from Islam to Christianity. Thus far mainstream American Muslim advocacy groups-notably the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) have failed to condemn Pastor Nadarkhani's heinous death sentence. This dereliction of basic moral duty by CAIR and ISNA, so vocal in highlighting the slightest perceived "violations" of Muslim rights here in the US, demonstrates that the continued failure of Islam to uphold basic freedom of conscience extends beyond the "Near East," to Muslim communities across the entire world.
Notwithstanding transparent last minute Iranian efforts to recast the criminal proceedings against Pastor Nadarkhani with allegations of-what else-"Zionist conspiracism," or other trumped up charges, a translated Iranian Supreme Court brief from 2010 (obtained by CNN from the American Center for Law and Justice, and translated from its original Farsi by the Confederation of Iranian Students in Washington) makes plain that apostasy is the sole charge.
Mr. Youcef Nadarkhani, son of Byrom, 32-years old, married, born in Rasht in the state of Gilan is convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion, the prophecy of Mohammad at the age of 19...He (Nadarkhani) has stated that he is a Christian and no longer Muslim...During many sessions in court with the presence of his attorney and a judge, he has been sentenced to execution by hanging according to article 8 of Tahrir Al- Wasilah (a book on Islamic Law, Sharia, authored by Ayatollah Khomeini as a guide for Muslims)
The quintessence of a contemporary Shiite pronouncement on apostasy in Islam (which cites Khomeini's treatise extensively) appearing in Kayhan International, March 1986, stated openly
Iranian apostasy law is consistent with mainstream Islam's rejection of freedom of conscience since the 7th century advent of the creed, through the clear modern dictates of the global Muslim umma's religio-political hierarchy as put forth in the 1990 Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, signed by all 56 member nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (now the Organization of Islamic Cooperation).
Bukhari, volume 9, #17-Narrated Abdullah: Allah's Messenger said, "The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Messenger, cannot be shed except in three cases: in Qisas (equality in punishment) for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (Apostate) and leaves the Muslims."
Bukhari, volume 9, #57-Narrated Ikrima, "Some atheists were brought to Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn Abbas who said, "If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah's messenger forbade it, saying, "Do not punish anybody with Allah's punishment (fire)." I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah's Messenger, "Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him."
Muslim-Chapter 6: WHEN IT IS PERMISSIBLE TO TAKE THE LIFE OF A MUSLIM, Book 016, Number 4152: Abdullah (b. Mas'ud) reported Allah's Messenger as saying: It is not permissible to take the life of a Muslim who bears testimony (to the fact that there is no god but Allah, and I am the Messenger of Allah, but in one of the three cases: the married adulterer, a life for life, and the deserter of his Din (Islam), abandoning the community.
Muwatta of Imam Malik, #1410-"Zaid b. Aslam reported that the Apostle declared that the man who leaves the fold of Islam should be executed."
The universality of these Islamic attitudes affects Muslim communities in the West, including North America. Syed Mumtaz Ali, the late architect of Canada's Sharia (Islamic Law) tribunal, and law professor Ali Khan, for example both have openly advocated extending Islamic apostasy laws to the West. Mumtaz Ali, in a disturbing essay, affirmed the traditional Islamic legal viewpoint that apostates must "choose between Islam and the sword," arguing further that if Canada were to act in accord with its own Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian government must grant the country's Islamic community authority to punish those Muslims who apostasize, or malign their faith.
Washburn (Topeka, Kansas) University Law Professor, Ali Khan, another practicing Muslim, provided a more original, but no less frightening rationale for Muslims in the West to violate, fatally, the basic freedom of conscience of their co-religionists. Khan argued in The Cumberland Law Review that apostasy from Islam is an "attack" upon "protected knowledge," which if deemed (i.e., by some Islamic tribunal one must assume!) to be "open, hostile, and voiced contemptuously," justified punishment by death. Ali Khan is convinced that traditional Islamic law precepts antipodean to freedom of conscience nevertheless trump this foundational Western freedom, because,
And in April, 2009 Harvard Muslim chaplain Taha Abdul-Basser explained approvingly to a Muslim student that the traditional Islamic practice of executing apostates from Islam, remained both venerable, and applicable:
The Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA), consistent with modern fatwas published by Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, president of the International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS), and other prominent, mainstream Muslim clerics in Egypt (Al Azhar University), Lebanon, Iran, and Malaysia, has also mandated lethal punishment for apostates from Islam. AMJA's mission statement maintains the organization was, "...founded to provide guidance for Muslims living in North America...AMJA is a religious organization that does not exploit religion to achieve any political ends, but instead provides practical solutions within the guidelines of Islam and the nation's laws to the various challenges experienced by Muslim communities..." Moreover, AMJA was deemed a laudable, mainstream Muslim organization for North American imam training by the (US) Muslim Observer in October 2010, despite AMJA's imams having issued the following public rulings on "apostasy" from Islam, in 2006 and 2009:
Dr. Hatem al-Haj 2006-04-17 As for the Sharia ruling, it is the punishment of killing for the man with the grand Four Fiqh Sharia scholars, and the same with the woman with the major Shari'ah scholars, and she is jailed with Al-Hanafiyyah scholars, as the prophet, prayers and peace of Allah be upon him, said: "Whoever a Muslim changes his/her religion, kill him/her", and his saying: "A Muslim's blood, who testifies that there is no god except Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah, is not made permissible except by three reasons: the life for the life; the married adulterer and the that who abandons his/her religion".
Dr. Main Khalid Al-Qudah 2009-01-02 Under the authority of the Muslim state, the People of the Book have the right to stay on their belief without being compelled to embrace Islam. But if one of them has embraced Islam, it would not be acceptable from him to go back to his original religion. The same rule applies to those who are born into Muslim families. According to the Islamic Law, they cannot commit apostasy.
Dr. Main Khalid Al-Qudah 2009-04-10 As for the second one, the "people" in this hadith means either the apostates who had become Muslim and then retreated to disbelief thereafter, or the polytheists who do not attribute themselves to any divine religion. This second possible meaning has been mentioned in Imam Al-Nasa'i's narration: "I have been commanded to fight against the polytheists until they..." In Islam, neither of these categories of people is allowed to remain on their religion. The fact that there is no compulsion in religion does not negate the other fact that someone who has embraced Islam cannot change his mind afterward and embrace polytheism.
The eerie silence regarding Pastor Youcef Nadarkani's looming death sentence for "apostasy" from typically shrill mainstream Muslim advocacy groups such as CAIR and ISNA can only be interpreted as meaning these organizations reject true freedom of conscience, and condone such Sharia-based punishment for the "crime" of "apostasizing" from Islam.
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