Thursday, November 09, 2006

Freedom of conscience

This is extremely important.

But hold on a moment. Whoah there. First things first.

People often say that Islam needs a Reformation. Sometimes they mean that Islam needs to become less, well... Islamic. The early Protestant reformers who risked, and sometimes suffered, burning at the stake were not exactly half-hearted in their Christianity. So it is with Reformist Muslims. And Eteraz is a case in point.

You might be - indeed I am - often bored with the religious discussion on this blog, but essential skimming it is, at the very least. What we have here is good people, with good hearts, and a deep attachment to their religion and their identity, debating the important points of our time from a reformist Islamic perspective. Personally, I dislike their identity politics immensely. But that's tough for me. That's what they do and I'm not going to change it.

What I can do, though, is trumpet to the skies as they advance the humane and decent motivations that are in their hearts, and that's what I'm doing right now.

So, back to the extremely important news. One of the real problems with Islam is the approach to apostasy. Apostasy is, at root, just freedom of conscience. If someone is born into a Muslim background, but just doesn't believe, or believes in something else, the sentence is death.

Or is it?

Not according to the post I linked to earlier and am prepared to link to again.

And I'm hugely encouraged by the title of their post: "Another Apostasy Hadith Revealed". Basically, they are contending that:

there is no Quranic basis for an EARTHLY punishment for apostasy. (Maududi tried to find one but he failed). As such, the death penalty for apostasy is rooted in the hadith. Within the three links above, the single most important apostasy hadith, and a couple of corollary hadith, have been discredited. It becomes really difficult, in light of this information, to persuasively argue that Islamic Law should permit a death penalty for apostasy.

Now, the issue is to spread these opinions so more people i.e. Muslims can get out of their ignorance.
As I have been repeatedly attacked for pointing out, Muslims are our neighbours and friends, and we have to live with them.

It's very easy to live with people like the Eteraz bloggers.


Harry J said...

I'd read and digest the two articles below before you celebrate too much. I've been a keen observer of the numerous exchanges between Dean Esmay, the poster on his site Ali Eteraz and Robert Spencer it seems to me that Robert Spencer 'wins' hands down. More importantly, as Robert Spencer points out, it's the wider Islamic community that really need convincing and Mr Eteraz's article seems unlikely to do that.

Peter Risdon said...

I read that earlier this morning, and am going to post about it later. It's very important, for several reasons. And I am still celebrating.