American Admiralty Books Safety & Privacy Policies (Attention EU Visitors , possible "cookie" encounter ahead)Islam and the apostasy debate By Roger Hardy
BBC Middle East analyst
The title above is also a direct link to the story. Its an excellent read, very informative. We covered recent persecutions of Christians in Sudan mentioning the poor performance of the U.S. State Department,and our concern as Merchant Mariners often dependent on the counselor functions of the U.S. State Department personnel. As visiting merchant mariners to places like Sudan (U.S. aid cargoes) or Saudi Arabia we don't expect to be hanged or flogged for being Christian, but they like to do these things to their own people and we are always at risk. We need faster, more effective interventions by U.S. State Department personnel than what we have come to expect. The ruse that these states use to persecute Christians even to the point of making being a Christian a capital crime is the apostasy argument. Some Islamic clerics believe that anyone who converts from Islam to another religion should be punished by death. Others believe that the punishment should be left to God on judgement day. Despite the fact that the capital punishment for "apostasy" is not supported by anything like a majority of Muslims or their clerics the practice is growing. Its good to understand the debate in Islamic terms and Mr. Hardy did a good job of explaining that. But there is a common sense bottom line that we feel no one has articulated. Since we have to get back to our regular work of covering maritime matters, we want to take one parting shot at articulating the obvious but so far unsaid:
The point of the apostasy advocates in the Islamic world is to build a fence around Islam to keep adherents at least nominally in. A religion with a death dealing fence around it to keep adherents in also fences others out. Islam is growing mostly, not because it is gaining good faith converts, but because the Islamic birth rate is higher than most Christian or Jewish societies. Yet Islam now rates second behind Christians according to the Pew Institute for the title of most persecuted religious group. Jews are a distant third simply due to smaller total population and a demographic spread that mostly places the majority populations in the West or Israel. In all three cases there are exceptions to this rule, but the major persecutor of all three sects including Muslims are heretical Islamic adherents. All of the "people of the book", as Islam calls Muslims, Christians and Jews are endangered by these "brigands". Yet how often have you ever heard other Muslims refer to these elements as "heretics", or "brigands". Being a "brigand", an outlaw enemy of mankind is a capital offense under Sharia law, and its a charge we can understand. Yet despite the infliction of violent death on men, women, and children by the thousands all around the world by these "brigands" Islamic legal scholars are more interested in debating the hanging of Apostates, for the "crime" of converting to Christianity. The more they try to close a fence around their faithful by death threats the more people will try to find a way over, under, around or through the fence. How many real adherents are inside such a fence? But just because the hate filled Imams are blind to their own folly doesn't mean that they aren't dangerous; to everybody.