Apostasy in Islam

May 25th, 2006, in News, by

Gus Dur, Abdurrahman Wahid, writes on the question of apostasy in Islam.

Traditionally apostasy has been punishable by death in Islam, the most recent almost-case of this being that of Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan. Gus Dur writes in FrontPage magazine on why he thinks that Islam does not, in fact, permit the execution or murder of those who choose to leave the religion. Frustratingly, as Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch has pointed out Wahid does not really attempt to prove his point by concrete reference to Muslim scripture and Quranic verses. Without this we are left in some doubt as to what basis in the reality of Islam his view has.

Read Wahid’s piece.


3 Comments on “Apostasy in Islam”

  1. Anonymous_aloy says:

    Oh boy. Gus Dur, Ulil Abshar Abdalla, and other progressive Muslims never make any argument that Islam should be practiced in a strict accordance to Muslim scripture and Quranic verses. Finding verses on apostasy in Quran does not invalidate Wahid’s claim that Islam in reality does not permit execution, because Wahid does not believe that in reality one should follow the scripture and verses according to their literal meaning. In fact, progressive Muslims such as Ulil has repeatedly 1) acknowledged that some (many) of the verses are outdated and 2) urged Muslims to abandon those outdated verses. One of those outdated reference is exactly on apostasy. I guess if you really want to paint Gus Dur as a villain you could – it’s your website. Why you would want to do that I really cannot figure.

  2. David says:

    I do not paint him as a villain at all. I would prefer him to engage more readily with actual verses of the Quran, spell it out that they are to be junked because they are outdated, etc. He does not say this, his piece is wishy-washy feel good stuff, it will not convince any of the people it needs to.

  3. Anonymous_aloy says:

    Point taken. Gus Dur might not be as effective as one would have liked in terms of convincing the outside world, and to some his Washington Post column may sound ‘wishy-washy’. Yet he is second to none in terms of doing the hard work, fighting on the ground in daily basis, for secular and plural Indonesia.

    Front Page Magazine have their own view of what Islam is or what Islam they want people to see. I doubt they know enough about the Indonesian context. They probably don’t even care. You care.

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