Unsurprising, really, when 'The Daily Telegraph' reports that there is considerable support for those barbaric and ignorant views in the Qur'an and other sacred Islamic texts - which may explain why, out of the 57 Islamic states in the world today, seven have a legal code that punishes Muslims who leave the religion with death and Pakistan is currently considering a Bill that would make apostasy a capital crime for men and one carrying a sentence of imprisonment for women.
Patrick Sookhdeo was born a Muslim, but later converted to Christianity. He is now international director of the Barnabas Fund, an organisation that aims to research and to ameliorate the conditions of Christians living in countries hostile to their religion. He says:
"All four schools of Sunni law, as well as the Shia variety, call for the death penalty for apostates. Most Muslim scholars say that Muslim religious law - sharia - requires the death penalty for apostasy.
In 2004, Prince Charles called a meeting of leading Muslims to discuss the issue. All the Muslim leaders at that meeting agreed that the penalty in sharia is death. The hope was that they would issue a public declaration repudiating that doctrine, but not one of them did."
As 'The Daily Telegraph' article concludes:
Given the acceptance by some that Muslim religious law does indeed require that apostates be killed, it is hardly surprising that many ordinary Muslims think that it is their religious duty to carry out that punishment - or at least to threaten it.
But not all Muslims in Britain agree with that conclusion.
Ibrahim Mogra, of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), says that it is "absolutely disgraceful behaviour… In Britain, no Muslim has the right to harm one hair of someone who decides to leave Islam." And Inayat Bunglawala, also a spokesman for the MCB, insists that such behaviour in Britain is "awful and quite wrong. The police should crack down on it." However, Mr Bunglawala's words have to be seen in their proper context, since he subsequently refused to condemn those Muslim states which impose the death penalty for apostasy, claiming that such barbaric and ignorant treatment was "a matter for those states".
What is perhaps more surprising is that these spokespersons for the MCB do not appear to be aware of what is happening in their own mosques in this country.
According to Denis MacEoin's report for 'Policy Exchange' the following is just typical of the documents found in influential mosques here:
Fatawa Islamiyah - Islamic Verdicts, volume 5, which states, inter alia:Frankly, the real problem with Islam is that it makes much of it's barbaric past as if it is relevant today. Furthermore, there is little consensus among Muslims about many aspects of their faith and no supreme imam to rule on their differences of interpretation. Nor does there appear to be any Muslim with sufficient moral authority and gravity amongst the ummah to act as arbiter. Consequently, it is unsurprising that so many ordinary Muslims are frightened to speak out against the barbaric and inhumane punishments ordered in the name of Islam - for they themselves could become the next victims of the brutal misanthropes who hide behind their religious texts and use these as justification for their vile atrocities.And if he apostatises after that, his head should be chopped off, according to the Hadith: 'Whoever changes his religion, kill him'[emphasis added].(in the East London Mosque; the London Central Mosque and Islamic Centre
Nevertheless, that does not excuse the actions of the Muslim leaders who refused to issue a public declaration repudiating the doctrine that the punishment for apostasy is death.