ripped sharia sticker placed on a street sign in the UK

Murder, robbery and rape are crimes in the view of Muslim law, but under some interpretation so to are music, gambling, the building of mansions and the making eunuchs. The manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages, drug dealing and reading pornographic literature are also forbidden. Games of chance and lotteries are considered the "work of satan" because they exhort "quick and easy gains." Sharia also lays down a number of laws related to slavery and vendettas.

Sharia practiced in most extreme form is notorious of its cruel punishments: chopping of limbs, beheading and stoning to death. These practices violate most international norms of human rights. The Sharia punishment for many crimes is beating. According to Muslim Law men caught drinking alcohol or are supposed to be publicly flogged. Those found guilty of blasphemy or apostasy or converted to another religion can be executed. The punishmnets for adultery including public flogging and stoning to death.

A passage in the fifth chapter of the Qur’an reads: “The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger...will be they will be killed or crucified or have their hands and feet on alternate sides of cut the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom." There are equally harsh passages in the Bible.

Websites and Resources: Islam ; Islamic City ; Islam 101 ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; Religious Tolerance ; BBC article ; Patheos Library – Islam ; University of Southern California Compendium of Muslim Texts ; Encyclopædia Britannica article on Islam ; Islam at Project Gutenberg ; Islam from UCB Libraries GovPubs ; Muslims: PBS Frontline documentary frontline ; Discover Islam;

Sharia (Islamic Law): Oxford Dictionary of Islam ; Encyclopædia Britannica ; Wikipedia Wikipedia ; Sharia by Knut S. Vikør, Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics ; Law by Norman Calder, Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World ; Sharia Law in the International Legal Sphere – Yale University ; 'Recognizing Sharia' in Britain, anthropologist John R. Bowen discusses Britain's sharia courts ; "The Reward of the Omnipotent" late 19th Arabic manuscript about Sharia;

Qur’an (Quran, Koran) and Hadith:
Quran translation in English ; Quran in Easy English, Urdu, Arabic and 70 other languages ; ; ; Quranic Arabic Corpus, shows syntax and morphology for each word ; Word for Word English Translation – ; Digitised Qurans in the Cambridge University Digital Library ; ;
Hadith – search by keyword and by narrator

Misconceptions About Sharia Punishment

According to the BBC: “Many people, including Muslims, misunderstand Sharia. It's often associated with the amputation of limbs, death by stoning, lashes and other medieval punishments. Because of this, it is sometimes thought of as draconian. Some people in the West view Sharia as archaic and unfair social ideas that are imposed upon people who live in Sharia-controlled countries. Many Muslims, however, hold a different view. In the Islamic tradition Sharia is seen as something that nurtures humanity. They see the Sharia not in the light of something primitive but as something divinely revealed. In a society where social problems are endemic, Sharia frees humanity to realise its individual potential. [Source: BBC, September 3, 2009 |::|]

places where premarital and extramarital sex are crimes under sharia zina laws, with light green being places it is practiced in some localities

Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood, a British Muslim, told the BBC: ““The usual criticisms of Sharia - that it is so cruel as regards execution, flogging and cutting off hands - totally ignore all the extenuating circumstances that would lead to these penalties not being applied. They are known as hadd penalties (pl. hudud), the extreme limit of the penalty. Thus, if a person was sentenced to having a hand cut off, he or she should not be sent to prison and/or be fined as well. People who regard these practices as cruel will never be persuaded otherwise, so Muslims usually leave that aside. Their point is that the cutting of the hand for theft is a very powerful deterrent - Muslims care less for the callous and continual thief than they do for the poor souls who are mugged and robbed and hurt by the thieves. [Source: Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood, BBC, September 3, 2009 |::|]

“The Middle East is certainly not full of one-handed people - as any traveller would tell you. What we have lost here is the horror of dishonour that true Muslims still have. They would do anything rather than offend Allah, and they of course believe that Allah sees every single thing that is done - there are no secrets. Even if you get away with something on earth, it has been seen and recorded and you will have to face judgement for it eventually, and the people hurt by your action will be recompensed. Of course, if you do not believe in God, or a judgement, or a life to come, the whole system is quite meaningless to you. In Sharia law, if a thief could prove that he/she only stole because of need, then the Muslim society would be held at fault and made to supply that need, and there would be no hand-cutting. Most thieves would think twice before risking a hand on mugging an old lady for her handbag!

Islamic and Capital Punishment

Islam generally is viewed as accepting capital punishment. The Qur’an reads: “Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice and law. Thus does He command you, so that you may learn wisdom.” — Qur'an 6:151. Even so forgiveness is preferred and peace is a more predominant theme in the Qur'an than eye-for-an-eye justice.

According to the BBC: “Muslims believe that capital punishment is a most severe sentence but one that may be commanded by a court for crimes of suitable severity. While there may be more profound punishment at the hands of God, there is also room for an earthly punishment. Methods of execution in Islamic countries vary and can include beheading, firing squad, hanging and stoning. In some countries public executions are carried out to heighten the element of deterrence. Each case is regarded individually and with extreme care and the court is fully able to impose more lenient sentences as and when they see fit. [Source: BBC, September 16, 2009 |::|]

public hanging of a rapist in Qarchak, Varamin, Iran in 2011

“Islamic countries that practise a very strict Sharia law are associated with the use of capital punishment as retribution for the largest variety of crimes. At the other end of the spectrum are countries such as Albania and Bosnia, which still retain the death penalty as part of their penal system, but are abolitionist in practice. |::|

“In Islamic law, the death penalty is appropriate for two groups of crime: 1) Intentional murder: In these cases the victim's family is given the option as to whether or not to insist on a punishment of this severity; 2) Fasad fil-ardh ('spreading mischief in the land'): Islam permits the death penalty for anyone who threatens to undermine authority or destabilise the state What constitutes the crime of 'spreading mischief in the land' is open to interpretation, but the following crimes are usually included: 1) Treason/apostasy (when one leaves the faith and turns against it); 2) Terrorism; 3) Piracy of any kind; 4) Rape; 5) Adultery; 6) Homosexual activity |::|

“Whilst Islam remains firmly retentionist, there is a small but growing abolitionist Islamic view. Their argument is as follows: ) The Ulamas (those who are learned in Islamic Law, constitution and theology) do not always agree on the interpretation or authenticity of the sacred texts. Neither do they agree on the social context in which these texts should be applied. ) Sharia law is often used by repressive powers that attack women and the poor. ) There are incidences of these states summarily executing those who are accused whilst denying them access to a lawyer. These acts are totally contradictory to the concept of Islamic justice. |::|

“In Geneva, on 28th April 2005, there was a call for a moratorium on corporal punishment, stoning and death penalty. This was, however, rejected by the Legal Research Commission of the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the world's leading Islamic learning centre.” |::|

Why is Sharia Equated with Cruelty

Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood told the BBC: “I think through two things - ignorance of the reality of Sharia law, and much publicised cases where Muslims in positions of authority have been very poor Muslims, if not non-Muslims in Muslim disguise. For example, 100 years ago we had stories of awful Turkish sultans, and people being rushed to blocks to have their hands cut off etc. The media picks out certain cases and blows them up to make a big drama of them - they might pick on one particular murderer on death row in the USA and rouse everyone's feelings, but totally ignore all the others due to be executed that day! [Source: Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood, BBC, September 3, 2009 |::|]

herbal healer beheaded for "practicing magic and sorcery" in Yemen in 2012

“A case like the Nigerian woman in danger of being stoned for adultery is a case in point. She might have been stoned by irate villagers, but on being taken into custody and judged by Sharia law she gets the opportunity to appeal and explain etc. In her case, if it is true that she was raped, she most certainly would not be sentenced to death. What interests me is who were the rotten people who brought the case against her anyway? |::|

“Incidentally the correct Islamic method of stoning according to Sharia was similar to that advised by the Pharisees at the time of Jesus - the person was held fast in a fixed position, and a stone or rock that it took two men to lift (i.e. was heavier than one man could lift alone) was to be dropped to crush the head - it was not someone tied to a post and rocks hurled at them, although this has been done in some cultures. The point was that if someone really had to be executed, it was to be done swiftly, with as little torture as possible, and usually publicly so that no vindictive person could do further nasty things behind the scenes and get away with it. |::|

“Sharia should promote gender equality. In fact, the natural Islamic tendency is to always consider women as the weaker sex in need of care and protection, and come down hard on the men who allow their womenfolk to get into difficulties.” |::|

Adultery, Sharia and the Taliban

Islam prohibits sex outside of marriage. Premarital and extramarital sex are sternly frowned upon. On the subject of adultery Muhammad said: "The adultery of the eye is to look with an eye of desire on the wife of another; and the adultery of the tongue is to utter what is forbidden.” According to strict interpretations of Muslim law men committing adultery are supposed to be publicly flogged and women who commit adultery are supposed to be stoned to death. In accordance with the law for a person to be convicted of adultery four male witnesses have to have observed the adulterous act.

Taliban execution of Zarmeena for adultery in Kabul in 1999

Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood, a British Muslim, told the BBC: “In the west, adultery has become so commonplace because of sexual freedoms - all the emphasis these days seems to be on finding sexual satisfaction; in Muslim societies, there is far less emphasis on sex - it is usually regarded as a weakness that can lead to all sorts of trouble. Family is far more important; the notion of a million unborn children per year being aborted, and single mothers, is abhorrent in Islam. [Source: Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood, BBC, September 3, 2009 |::|]

In some places a husband has the right to injure or even kill his wife if she commits adultery. A wife can not do the same thing to her husband if he commits adultery. In other places — namely Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan — women accused of adultery have been stoned to death or buried up to their waists and pelted with shoes or stones.

Reports of the Taliban stoning women to death for committing adultery represents sharia taken to its most conservative extreme. Under the Taliban, in some cases, adulterers were placed together in a bed and stoned to death. First a judge threw a stone, then people start throwing stones while the couple cried a “very high cry.” It lasted one or two hours. One doctor told the Los Angeles Times that some dead stoning victims were brought to his hospital. “They brought in one woman who was skinned and another who was chopped into pieces and carried in a box, When we asked about the woman’s bodies, they said it was none of our business.”

The Taliban badly distorted shariah. According to sharia, people can only be convicted of adultery if four male witnesses observed the adulterous act and the punishment does not have to be stoning. The Taliban, however, often sentenced people to death without meeting four-male-witness standard of proof. Judges often dispensed justice without the presence of lawyers of witnesses. Some judges were notoriously corrupt. Some reportedly allowed murders to go free and orders innocent villagers to be executed in their place after receiving a bribe.

Murder and Sharia

Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood, a British Muslim, told the BBC: “Sharia law for murder allows the death penalty, but is kinder than western law in one respect - after judicial judgement has been made, appeals are then allowed to the family of the murdered victims, and they are begged to be merciful. In Islam, it is always regarded as the height of mercy to forgive a murderer, even though one may have the right to take his/her life in reprisal. [Source: Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood, BBC, September 3, 2009 |::|]

Man crucified by al-Qaeda-affiliated Ansar al-Shari'a for allegedly directing U.S. drones in Yemen in 2012

“The form of execution is not specified in Islam - i.e. it is not usually a stoning. Beheading used to be regarded as the quickest and most merciful way (as in Roman law, and the French guillotine); these days other methods may find approval. There are apparently far fewer executions in most Muslim countries than in the USA, for example. The penalty for adultery is open to debate. Most scholars will insist that the penalty as laid down in the Qur'an was 100 lashes, and there were various rules for regulating how lashes were to be given too. Other scholars maintain that the old penalty for adultery as laid down by the previous prophets was stoning (as in the Old Testament). By New Testament times, the prophet Jesus had the famous case where a guilty woman was forgiven and sent away, told only to sin no more. |::|

“In some Muslim societies, judges and populaces might stone out of mistaken belief that this was what Islam required. In fact, Islam made it virtually impossible - to be sentenced to death for adultery, the couple had to be actually witnessed performing the physical act by four people who were in a position to identify both parties without doubt; this virtually ruled out the penalty, since adultery is taken for granted as a secret act and something not done in public. |::|

Theft and Amputation

The penalty for the theft, according to the Qur’an, for both men and women, is the amputation of a hand. Sura 5:38 reads: "As for the man or woman who is guilty of theft, cut of their hands in retribution for what they might have earned." The concept is rooted in Arab tribal beliefs about vendettas and blood money payments. Once a decision has been made it is not usually rescinded. The Hanafi school allows the payment of money to settle theft crimes.

right hand of 17-year-old school boy Ismael Khalif Abdulle-Quran found guilt of theft in Somalia in 2010

Many Muslim scholars argue that if it is to be applied at all the amputation penalty should only be applied in the most extreme cases. Others state the punishment is meant to be taken metaphorically: cutting the hand from robbery, perhaps through imprisonment. The very next verse in the Qur’an after the amputation verse teaches God's forgiveness of those who repent. Most Muslim countries do not mutilate thieves. The Qur’an specifically warns against literal interpretations.

In places where the amputation has been applied there is some disagreement as to which parts of the body are cut off and how much. Sunnis believe the hand should be loped off at the wrist. Shias (Shia) maintain that the fingers should only be cut off at the first knuckle, so that the victim can still feed himself. Muslims are supposed to eat with their right hand (the left hand is for wiping oneself). Unfortunately for Sunni thieves it is the right hand that is removed."

In Afghanistan, under the Taliban, people convicted of theft had a foot or hand cut off. In 1992, according to Amnesty International, one "prisoner of conscience" from Syria was sentenced to the amputation of his hand.

Muslim Execution and Stoning Deaths

According to conservative interpretations of Sharia executions are supposed to be carried out in public. Only for proven adultery and apostasy is the death penalty mandatory. Under the Islamic code of some schools a convicted murderer given the death penalty can escape death if he or his family pays restitution of around $50,000 to $100,000 to the victim's family.

Describing a stoning death in Jeddah in February 1958, R. M. Macoll wrote: "A prince, a nephew of the king, sat stern-faced on a chair. Before him was a carpet. From a lorry a man was led forward by two khaki-clad policemen. He was in his late twenties and was completely composed...His hands were chained together behind him and he walked awkwardly because of the chains festooned about his ankles...Arrived at he edge of the carpet he knelt and was told by the police to keep his eyes fixed on the prince's face." [Source: Eyewitness to History , edited by John Carey, Avon, 1987]

"At his side an official unrolled a scroll and started to read aloud the man's misdeed and the punishment decreed by the court. The crowd was now utterly hushed...Suddenly the line of police parted and the executioner appeared, sword in hand. He approached the victim from behind and on tiptoes. As the reading stopped the executioner bent and touched the kneeling man lightly on the back with his finger...Instinctively the man started, and in so doing raised is head. In an instant, with a swift and expert blow, the executioner decapitated him...A long, slow sigh came from the onlookers. "

"Now a woman was dragged forward. She and the man had together murdered her former husband. She, too, was under thirty, and slender...The recital of her crime was too read out as she knelt, and the executioner stepped forward with a wooden stave and dealt a hundred blows with all his strength upon her shoulder...As the flogging ended the woman sagged over on her side."

"Next, a lorry loaded with rocks and stones was backed up and its cargo deposited in a pile. At a signal from the prince the crowd leaped on the stones and started pelting the woman to death...It was difficult to determine how she was facing her last and awful ordeal, since she was veiled in Muslim fashion and her mouth was gagged to muffle her cries...It took over an hour before the doctor in attendance, who halted the stoning periodically to feel the victim's pulse, announced her dead."

"Had this scene been taking place in the middle of the desert it would have been grim enough, but that it should have been enacted in the heart of modern Jeddah's business neighborhood lent it a dismally macabre quality...The execution of the man”...The beheading was at least done humanely and quickly carried out...But the doing to death of the woman is something which the handful of horrified Europeans in the crowd will not quickly forget."

stoning of a woman in 19th century Qajar, Persia

Blasphemy and Muslim Law

According to Muslim blasphemy laws the saying blasphemous words against Allah, implied or otherwise, is against Muslim law. Look at how much trouble Saloman Rushdie got into for saying that Muhammad fraternized with a prostitute. In 1989 the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran handed down a death sentence to Salman Rushdie for blasphemy after his publication of "Satanic Verses" in 1989. See Salman Rushdie

The Quran admonishes blasphemy, but does not specify any worldly punishment for blasphemy. The hadiths, which are another source of Sharia, suggest various punishments for blasphemy, which may include death. Blasphemy laws, originally established to prevent people from disrespecting Islam, have been used by Muslim extremists to crack down on and harass opponents. See Pakistan, Egypt.

Fareed Zakaria wrote in the Washington Post: “One holy book is deeply concerned with blasphemy: the Bible. In the Old Testament, blasphemy and blasphemers are condemned and prescribed harsh punishment. The best-known passage on this is Leviticus 24:16 : “Anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.” [Source: Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post, January 8, 2015]

“By contrast, the word blasphemy appears nowhere in the Qur’an. (Nor, incidentally, does the Qur’an anywhere forbid creating images of Muhammad, though there are commentaries and traditions — “hadith” — that do, to guard against idol worship.) Islamic scholar Maulana Wahiduddin Khan has pointed out that “there are more than 200 verses in the Qur’an, which reveal that the contemporaries of the prophets repeatedly perpetrated the same act, which is now called ‘blasphemy or abuse of the Prophet’ .?.?. but nowhere does the Qur’an prescribe the punishment of lashes, or death, or any other physical punishment.” On several occasions, Muhammad treated people who ridiculed him and his teachings with understanding and kindness. “In Islam,” Khan says, “blasphemy is a subject of intellectual discussion rather than a subject of physical punishment.

Background Behind Islamic Blasphemy Laws

Qasim Rashid wrote in The Independent: “Blasphemy laws historically began in Christian Europe as a means to prevent dissent and enforce the church’s authority. They were exported to Muslim majority nations via British imperialism. Today, just about every Muslim majority nation that has blasphemy laws can trace them back to British statute from centuries prior. [Source: Qasim Rashid, The Independent, May 12, 2017]

countries where public stoning is a judicial or extrajudicial form of punishment, light color is where it is practiced in some localities

“Quran 4:59-60 commands Muslims: “Verily, Allah commands you to make over the trusts to those entitled to them, and that, when you judge between men, you judge with justice... O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority among you.” Thus, the Quran commands Muslims to judge with justice, not religion. Likewise, the Quran could have added that the faithful should only obey those in authority who are Muslim – but that notable omission speaks volumes otherwise.

“In 2009, His Holiness the Khalifa of Islam Mirza Masroor Ahmad delivered a landmark address in Frankfurt, Germany, where he implored religious freedom, concluding: “The followers of any religion should be able to practise their religious customs freely; otherwise if the government will interfere with religion, in this civilised world, such interference will negate their claim to being secular and discharging the rights of others.”“

Victims of Blasphemy Laws

Qasim Rashid wrote in The Independent: ““Nowadays, blasphemy cases are becoming increasingly popular as a means to persecute minorities in nations like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. In Pakistan, notable Ahmadi Muslim Tahir Mehdi was finally released after nearly two years in prison for the alleged blasphemy of claiming he is Muslim. Meanwhile another Ahmadi Muslim — 81-year-old Shukoor Ahmad — serves an eight-year prison term for the same alleged crime of blasphemy. [Source: Qasim Rashid, The Independent, May 12, 2017]

“In Saudi Arabia, Raif Badawi is still in prison for the alleged blasphemy of being an atheist...In Indonesia, courts convicted Jakarta’s Governor Aho of blasphemy: the governor, who is a Christian, faces a two year prison sentence. Ahok’s crime? He rebuked claims by clerics that the Quran mandates Muslims to vote for a Muslim over a non-Muslim. By convicting Governor Ahok of blasphemy, Indonesia disgraces itself, violates human rights and ignores Islamic teachings. In fact, despite addressing blasphemy dozens of times, the Quran prescribes absolutely no worldly punishment. That notwithstanding, Governor Ahok is right that the Quran does not mandate Muslims to vote for a Muslim over a non-Muslim.

Fareed Zakaria wrote in the Washington Post: ““Pakistan is now the poster child for the anti-blasphemy campaign gone wild. In March, at least 14 people were on death row in that country, and 19 were serving life sentences, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. The owner of the country’s largest media group has been sentenced to 26 years in prison because one of his channels broadcast a devotional song about Muhammad’s daughter while reenacting a wedding. (Really.) And Pakistan is not alone. Bangladesh, Malaysia, Egypt, Turkey and Sudan have all used blasphemy laws to jail and harass people. In moderate Indonesia, 120 people have been detained for this reason since 2003. Saudi Arabia forbids the practice of any religion other than its own Wahhabi version of Islam.” [Source: Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post, January 8, 2015]


Apostasy laws (2013): 1) death penalty (red); 2) prison or loss of marriage or child custody (brown); 3) converting a Muslim a crime (yellow)

The dictionary definition of apostasy is “having rejected your religious beliefs or your political party or a cause (often in favor of opposing beliefs or causes)." In Islam, any sane Muslim who renounces Islam and persists in doing so after being given chances to repent loses a variety of rights. There is no penalty for any Muslim who kills such a convert on the grounds of his apostasy.

Converting to Christianity is regarded as a form of apostasy, a crime punishable by death. Explaining why such a conversion is such a serious offense an Afghan imam told the Washington Post, “You must understand how shameful it is for us that a Muslim would become a Christian. If other people want to come to Islam, we encourage and appreciate them. But ours is the complete and final religion. If you leave it, that is like throwing God away...If you leave Islam, our law says you must be killed."

Among the countries with apostasy laws on the books are Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan and Egypt. Killing for apostasy is rare even in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, which say they fully implement Islamic law.

As many as 15 percent of Muslims in Western societies have lost their faith, which means that there are around 200,000 apostates in Britain alone. It is difficult to tell exactly how many because people don't admit it for understandable reason.

In July 2007, Egypt's Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, one of the highest religious authorities in Islam, said there is no basis for the Islamic law that requires Muslims who have abandoned their religion to be killed, causing an outcry among Muslim conservatives. In an editorial in the Washington Post he wrote, “The essential question before us can a person who is Muslim chose a religion other than Islam? The answer is yes they can, because the Quran says, “Into you your religion, and unto me my religion”...If the cause in question is one of merely rejecting faith, then there is no worldly punishment. The matter is left until the Day of Judgement, and it is not to dealt with in the life of this world."

Gomaa added that if the apostate is “undermining the foundations of the society," then he could be prosecute by the judicial system to “protect the integrity of society” but did not say anything about death as a punishment. Among those who objected was the hardline Egyptian cleric Youssef el-badri, who said, “Shariah is punishes those who convert with death; religion is not a game to play with."

People Accused of Apostasy

Apostasy fatwa
But that doesn't mean people accused of apostasy don't suffer. One British family of Pakistani descent---the Husseins---that converted to Christianity had bricks thrown their window of their house and their car. Their car was rammed and torched. Garbage was thrown in the front of their house. On the streets they were regularly jostled, shouted at and given death threats. Mobs gathered around their house. Police offered little help and simply told them they should move.

Another convert named Yasamin converted when she was in her 30s after having a vision of Jesus while giving birth to her youngest son. She told the Times of London: “My family disowned me. I was born a Muslim, so must die a Muslim. When my husband found out, he totally disowned my sons. One friend tried to strangle me when I told him I was converting...I was spat on in the street because they thought I was dishonoring Islam. I had to go to court to get an injunction against my husband because he was inciting others to attack me."

Describing what happened to a friend who family found she was hiding a Bible in her room and secretly went to church Yasamin told the Times of London, “I tried to do as much as possible to help her, but they took her to Pakistan ---on holiday." Three week later, she drowned---they said she went out in the middle of the night and slipped into the river, but she just wouldn't have done that."

Another Pakistani convert named Ruth said that when her family found out: “My brother even hit me---I later found out he wanted me dead." Another said that after she confided her conversion, her father “went into a state of shock." “He took the family to Pakistani to a secluded village with no roads to it. He kept us there for many years, putting pressure on me to leave my Christian faith. I endured mental and emotional suffering that most humans never reach...In desperation he threatened to take my life. If someone converts, it is a must for family honor to bring them back to Islam, if not, to kill them."

Britain's most high profile apostate is IbnWarraq, a Pakistani-born intellectual and former teacher from London, who lost his father after the Salman Rushdie affair and wrote the books Why I am not a Muslim and Leaving Islam . On he hostility he has experienced he told the Times of London, “It's very strange. Even the most liberal Muslim can become incredibly fierce if you criticize Islam."

In the Netherlands, former Muslim MP Aryan Hirsi Ali had to go into hiding after renouncing her faith. One former Shia Muslim businessman who converted to Christianity was condemned by Islamic authorities as an apostate, received death threats and was not allowed to see his family.

See Afghanistan, Egypt

Image Sources: Wikimedia, Commons and WikiIslam

Text Sources: Internet Islamic History Sourcebook: “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); Arab News, Jeddah; "Islam, a Short History" by Karen Armstrong; "A History of the Arab Peoples" by Albert Hourani (Faber and Faber, 1991); "Encyclopedia of the World Cultures" edited by David Levinson (G.K. Hall & Company, New York, 1994). "Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, The Guardian, BBC, Al Jazeera, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated September 2018

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