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Thursday, 24 January 2008

A Treatise Against the Punishment and Execution of Apostates

1. A person forms a belief when (s)he reaches a conclusion after a specific observation of events, ideas in action, natural phenomena, and suchlike. This person does not form this belief purely out of spite, vindictiveness or immorality, but by sincere contention. I therefore consider it unreasonable, unrealistic and utterly fascistic and totalitarian to punish someone for a conclusion they cannot help but reach.

2. Deciding that Islâm carries as much truth as any other man–made religion, and thereby labelling it ‘false’ after believing it as true, represents nothing more than a change of belief.

3. Agreeing with the concept of execution for apostates means advocating (state–sanctioned) murder of people who reject what they now believe as nothing more than legends, fairytales and ancient fables.

4. Receiving punishment for changing your belief means that an ex–muslim ends up compelled by force to remain — at least for show — in that specific belief. This I would describe as nothing other than compulsion, and renders the famous ayat at 2:256 in the Qur’ân patently false.

5. Death for apostates merely extends the charade of Islâm — utter hypocrisy, and the Qur’ân itself denounces hypocrisy. Killing in the name of hypocrisy simply turns fundamentalism into another idol, and sacrificing apostates to this idol represents ‘shirk’ — worshipping others as God, and effectively dismantling the tawhîd of Allâh.

6. Punishing someone with execution for apostasy from Islâm (or any other cult) remains, in my opinion, a fundamentally despicable concept. It displays a complete and shocking lack of empathy and understanding as to what motivates someone’s convictions (in other words, something they cannot help but believe, and not necessarily a free choice).

7. This makes it a complete attack on freedom of thought, on freedom of speech and as such we, as rational and straight–thinking people, must speak out and act against it wherever we encounter it. It deserves nothing else but utter contempt and scorn.

8. Brutally murdering a murtad does not prevent harm in the slightest. The affected victim’s family and friends, his/her workplace, and so on, all lose someone dear or essential to them simply because that person had the audacity to believe something and change their mind.

9. Additionally, how does this affect a person’s position in the (I believe non–existent) Afterlife? Executing the apostate will not absolve him/her of supposed sinfulness, which means (s)he will not go to heaven. Threatening someone with death does not cause them suddenly to change their deep–seated philosophical views. Any claim to the contrary by the apostate in question amounts to blatant insincerity and, therefore, we can discard the sentiment as meaningless.

10. I submit that to label a change in a belief as commensurate with treason represents the height of illogicality. It indicates nothing other than a dismissal of a previously held philosophical position. When comparing apostasy to treason, the only proportionate analogy comes with a person renouncing his/her citizenship of any nation — hardly an act worthy of capital punishment.

11. A final point, in the form of two queries: in a secular and liberal democratic society (in which the general belief and value of democracy and libertarianism binds the state together), does a person disagreeing with democracy or libertarianism constitute having committed treason? Should such a person suffer threats of capital punishment?

1 comment:

Abu Ali said...

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You are a thoughtful and intelligent writer.

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Abu Ali :)

The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism