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Egypt Grand Mufti: No Earthly Punishment For Apostasy

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Egypt's religious advisor says Muslims can choose own religion

 

Posted Tue Jul 24, 2007 9:22pm AEST

 

Egypt's official religious advisor has ruled that Muslims are free to change their faith as it is a matter between an individual and God, in a move which could have far-reaching implications for the country's Christians.

 

"The essential question before us is can a person who is Muslim choose a religion other than Islam? The answer is yes, they can," Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said in a posting on a Washington Post-Newsweek forum picked up by the Egyptian press.

 

"The act of abandoning one's religion is a sin punishable by God on the Day of Judgement. If the case in question is one of merely rejecting faith, then there is no worldly punishment," he wrote.

 

Seems like he has joined Islamic scholars and intelectuals such as pakistani Lahore Professor(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_newsweek.washingtonpost(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/onfaith/muslims_speak_out/2007/07/khalid_zahir.html"]Khalid Zaheer[/url] in saying that Islam does not mandate an earthly punishment for apostasy (if it does not include treason against the state offcourse)

 

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_abc(contact admin if its a beneficial link).au/news/stories/2007/07/24/1987362.htm?section=justin"]Source[/url]

 

Salam

Edited by anthony19832005

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The current mufti of Egypt issued some questionable rulings lately. He does not enjoy much credibility among scholars. The position itself of the Grand mufti in Egypt lost much of its credibility, because the government appoints who take that position, and usually for political reasons. The current mufti also has a sufi background! (as if Egypt lacks great moderate scholars).

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Peace

 

I know that the position of "grand" mufti is not supposed to exist in Islam. It is just a tool for the tyrants to more easily control the masses. However, this does not mean that this decision holds any less water. I agree with it, I know many dont but these things should be more openly talked about and debated amongst the ulema.

 

Peace

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(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_archive.gulfnews(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/region/Egypt/10141696.html"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_archive.gulfnews(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/region/Egypt/10141696.html[/url]

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Peace

 

Thats nice, either he is correct that he did not make such a statement, or he has gone back on his words due to immense pressure. Anyways, Ill take his word for it.

 

Salam

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Well , not exactly Anthony , if you read carefully what the mufti said ;

"there should be no earthly punishment for apostatsy " ......UNLESS , such a person "creates mischief in the land " or is considered to be a "subversive to society " -two very wide encompassing terms , and flexibly open to whomever happens to be the interpreter .

Yes , at first , he did not include those add ons , but then retracted and added them .

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"there should be no earthly punishment for apostatsy " ......UNLESS , such a person "creates mischief in the land " or is considered to be a "subversive to society " -two very wide encompassing terms , and flexibly open to whomever happens to be the interpreter .

Sorry, no interpreter, a treator would be tried in a kind of Islamic court consisting of pious and responsible people who are responsible to the Ummah and God. I think you confuse it with your country. Remember JOHN WALKER LINDH? His case is an evidence of your laws which are flexibly open to whomever happens to be the interpreter.

 

For your record:

 

- John Walker Lindh is in prison for providing aid to the Taliban between May and November of 2001. In May of 2001 the Bush Administration provided $43 million in aid to the Taliban. (So, we can also add hipocrisy to the list ...)

 

- The government grossly overstated its case when JWL was first arrested. Consequently, the government dismissed nine out of ten of its original charges.

 

- Lindh began to fight the Northern Alliance before the United States became involved in the conflict.

 

- The indictment states that Lindh declined the offer to participate in terror operations against israel and the United States and chose instead to go to the front lines to fight the Northern Alliance. Nevertheless, Attorney General Ashcroft told the nation at his February 5, 2002 press conference that Lindh had dedicated himself to "killing Americans." This was a blatant falsehood, and Mr. Ashcroft, who had just read the Indictment, knew it. The maintstream media almost completely ignored this portion of the Indictment. Most of you will read about it here for the first time.

 

Wassalam,

Yasnov

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Two different situations , I think . In fact the thread is discussing the Mufti of Egypts remarks regarding how muslims should look upon apostasy , and consequently what penalty is appropriate .

I'm sure muslims as well as many western observors were suprised , to say the least . So much so in fact , that the Mufti felt it necessarry to restate his position and qualify his words .

Why such interest in the mufti's remarks ? That's obvious , as there are many who believe that the earthly penalty for apostasy should be applied , and that is death .

The Mufti in fact said no earthly penalty should be applied , but then due to pressure had to reiterate and say [paraphrased ] the earthly penalty shall apply only if the apostate is considered to be " a subversive to society " or " creates mischief in the land " .

Now if you'd like to provide an exact definition of those terms , please do so , since the gravity of it is a serious thing - the life or death of the apostate .

And we are talking about a religious article , not a political or ideological one , therefore the John Lind affair , is irrelevant .

And it seems that you yourself have described an apostate as a " traitor " which in almost all cases calls for a harsh penalty .

So what is it ?

 

If one leaves the religion , does an earthly penalty of death apply or not ? And if so , would it be due to those vague qualifications ? For without a standard definition of those terms , they remain vague .

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And it seems that you yourself have described an apostate as a " traitor " which in almost all cases calls for a harsh penalty . So what is it ?

When an apostate do not just leave his old religion, but also take side with the enemies during wars, what should I call him then?

 

Now if you'd like to provide an exact definition of those terms , please do so , since the gravity of it is a serious thing - the life or death of the apostate .

Only if you are able to provide me with an exact definition and qualification of the word treason in US dictionaries. Doesn't it carry a serious punishment too - the life or death of the traitor? So, there should be a standard definition of this term.

 

Wassalam,

Yasnov

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When an apostate do not just leave his old religion, but also take side with the enemies during wars, what should I call him then?

Only if you are able to provide me with an exact definition and qualification of the word treason in US dictionaries. Doesn't it carry a serious punishment too - the life or death of the traitor? So, there should be a standard definition of this term.

 

Wassalam,

Yasnov

 

 

So , it seems you do not know those definitions either . What are you attempting to describe , an apostate from a religion , which is something that has to do with free thought and free will or a traitor . From what you are saying there is no distinction between the two , therefore you are implying that you support a death penalty for anyone who leaves the faith . A religion is a philosophy , not a country , therefore if one leaves that philosophy , how can that person be considered a traitor , a traitor to what ? What you yourself believe ?

 

But now you add , a traitor who joins the enemy during wars ? Is that what an apostate does ? Simply be leaving the faith , you consider him as such , but that is incorrect.

For I will give you the definition of treason :

 

violation of allegiance owed to ones sovereign or state ; betrayal of ones country .

 

What sovereign , state or country is violated by a religious apostate ?

 

I would imagine that your definition of treason is just as "nebulous " as the definition you refuse to give regarding the two aforementioned by the mufti .

 

btw , the dictionary does not describe a penalty . That is at the disgression of the NATION , STATE , or Sovereignty where the act has occurred .

 

AND , death is by no means a universal penalty for treason for as far back as history is recorded therehave been cases of treason where the offender has been bannished rather than killed , so there isno historical precedent to apply a death penalty for treason , in the political sense .

And in my opinion religious apostasy is NOT treason in ANY sense . For if any religion is an exercise of freedom of thought , how can anyone possibly consider that a treasson , or even assume that it is to be automatically equated with joining an enemy at war ??

 

Unless of course you consider your religion to be at war in all the senses of war with ....everyone else .

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btw , John Linh , whether or not he was fighting anyone before 9/11 , was indeed well aware that the people he was running with , and the country he was residing in , had infact executed a casus-belli against the U.S. his own country , and in effect , that same country was in a state of war with the U.S.

In addition , he had approximately a month or so to make up his mind . the best thing for him would have been to leave Afghanistan .

But he didn't , in fact he wound up in that fortress where the people in it where without a doubt , fighting against US forces .

That makes him a traitor by any definition of the word . In fact a classic example .

 

But I think he only got 12-20yrs in prison , so there's a "traitor ' that did not get the death penalty . And he did have complete freedom to make his choice .

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Assalamualikum

 

okay anthony...so the mufti says so.........but wheres the backing from the quran or sunnah....i seriously dont understand how u can say he is right without the proof.

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Assalamualikum

 

okay anthony...so the mufti says so.........but wheres the backing from the quran or sunnah....i seriously dont understand how u can say he is right without the proof.

 

Well how can one say he is wrong without the same "backing " or proof ?

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because he didnt give any proof...who the hell is that guy to change Islam.............he himself is probably an apostate... how could he say that when Islamic law is different to what he says

 

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This post violated forum rule #22. Action taken. View (you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?act=boardrules"]details[/url].

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because he didnt give any proof...who the hell is that guy to change Islam.............he himself is probably an apostate... how could he say that when Islamic law is different to what he says

 

 

So , what you are saying is , that Islamic laws calls for a death penalty for a muslim who changes faith ?

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Assalamualikum

 

well, actually...to tell you the truth ..i havent read it...dont know what the punishment is...but i know its definately not what the egyptian mufti is saying

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Assalamualikum

 

well, actually...to tell you the truth ..i havent read it...dont know what the punishment is...but i know its definately not what the egyptian mufti is saying

 

 

 

 

What ?

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Well the silence is deafening .

Can I therefore take your remark as the state of the general consensus on the issue of penalty ?

 

It would seem so .

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And we are talking about a religious article , not a political or ideological one , therefore the John Lind affair , is irrelevant

Islam encompasses all aspects of life, from religious to political matters.

 

A religion is a philosophy , not a country , therefore if one leaves that philosophy , how can that person be considered a traitor , a traitor to what ? What you yourself believe ?

Because Islam is not merely a philosophy? Btw, I am not saying that any apostates should be killed. What the author of this (you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetanswering-christianity(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/apostates.htm"]article[/url] said about apostasy, more or less, represent my stance on this issue.

 

But now you add , a traitor who joins the enemy during wars ? Is that what an apostate does ? Simply be leaving the faith , you consider him as such , but that is incorrect. For I will give you the definition of treason :

violation of allegiance owed to ones sovereign or state ; betrayal of ones country .

What sovereign , state or country is violated by a religious apostate ?

His allegiance to a Caliphate? Btw, I never said that any apostates should be killed for simply leaving the faith.

 

And in my opinion religious apostasy is NOT treason in ANY sense . For if any religion is an exercise of freedom of thought , how can anyone possibly consider that a treasson , or even assume that it is to be automatically equated with joining an enemy at war ??

I never equated apostasy with joining an enemy at war.

 

AND , death is by no means a universal penalty for treason for as far back as history is recorded therehave been cases of treason where the offender has been bannished rather than killed , so there isno historical precedent to apply a death penalty for treason , in the political sense .

In 2005, 78 nations authorized the death penalty for some crimes. Typically, capital punishment is reserved for individuals who commit the most violent or serious crimes, such as murder and treason.

The United States has a federal system of government, in which power is divided between a central (national) authority and smaller local units of government (see Federalism). Federal law provides the death penalty for more than 40 crimes, including treason, various forms of aggravated murder, and large-scale drug trafficking.

The other 38 states all provide that some forms of aggravated murder can be punished with death. Several states also authorize capital punishment for the nonlethal offenses of drug trafficking, hijacking, treason, and sexual assault.

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetecpm-us(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/getinformed_ushistory.shtml"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetecpm-us(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/getinformed_ushistory.shtml[/url]

 

btw , John Linh , whether or not he was fighting anyone before 9/11 , was indeed well aware that the people he was running with , and the country he was residing in , had infact executed a casus-belli against the U.S. his own country , and in effect , that same country was in a state of war with the U.S.

If you were in Japan when the US attacked Japan in 1945, does it make you a traitor?

 

Wassalam,

Yasnov

Edited by Yasnov

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Islam encompasses all aspects of life, from religious to political matters.

Because Islam is not merely a philosophy? Btw, I am not saying that any apostates should be killed. What the author of this (you are not allowed to post links yet)"############answering-christianity######/apostates.htm"]article[/url] said about apostasy, more or less, represent my stance on this issue.

His allegiance to a Caliphate? Btw, I never said that any apostates should be killed for simply leaving the faith.

I never equated apostasy with joining an enemy at war.

In 2005, 78 nations authorized the death penalty for some crimes. Typically, capital punishment is reserved for individuals who commit the most violent or serious crimes, such as murder and treason.

The United States has a federal system of government, in which power is divided between a central (national) authority and smaller local units of government (see Federalism). Federal law provides the death penalty for more than 40 crimes, including treason, various forms of aggravated murder, and large-scale drug trafficking.

The other 38 states all provide that some forms of aggravated murder can be punished with death. Several states also authorize capital punishment for the nonlethal offenses of drug trafficking, hijacking, treason, and sexual assault.

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"############ecpm-us######/getinformed_ushistory.shtml"]############ecpm-us######/getinformed_ushistory.shtml[/url]

If you were in Japan when the US attacked Japan in 1945, does it make you a traitor?

 

Wassalam,

Yasnov

 

 

John Lind wasn't "just in Afghanistan " he fought against US forces , he knew they were there and he knew why . Still being a US citizen , that makes him a traitor .

Treason in the U S , and murder are the only two offenses in the U S that will draw a death penalty , your statement is incorrect ...go check it out and provide one instance in the U S , where anything but treason or murder warranted a death penalty . The only exception that I know of are the cases of 5 German spies caught in the U S during WW2 , and 1 American soldier for desertion in WW 2.

There are many laws on the books that are outdated and arcane , and they are always tested against the Constitution . States rights do not supercede the Supreme Court , as it rules on whether laws are in violation of the constitution . We are talking about recent history , and not the wild west where men were hung for stealing a horse .

However there are countries where drug trafficking will get you the death penalty , the U S is not one of them .

 

If I was in Japan during WW2 , does that make me a traitor ? Of course not , and you know that , you play semantics . If I was in Japan fighting with the Japanese against my country THAT would make me a traitor .

 

Now if "you are not saying apostates should get a penalty of death " ....then what is it you are trying to say , and WHY are you arguing with me , for I merely asked the question , based on the recent remarks by the Mufti of Egypt .

So far , as I can estimate , from the mouths of muslims , there is not such law in your religion that calls for a death penalty , the Mufti stated such , and it seems many of you dont like that .

Either it is or it isn't , and since we are not talking about trivial matters , for we are talking about taking a human life , I think someone should be able to give a definitive answer rather than the vagueries I've heard so far .

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I have watched some so-called 'Muslims' who have converted to Christianity etc invent lies and fairy tales to insult, degrade and slander Islam and Muslims. These hypocritical hypocrites deserve to be punished for their lies, slanders etc harm Islam and Muslims.

 

I have challenged some of them to debate in open public debate after they have insulted, degraded and slandered Islam and Muslims but they refuse to debate with me because they know that they cannot defend their lies.

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I'm sure you do all of those things ....and all of the time .

However , what do you do to an apostate that simply leaves the faith ? one who leaves the faith and just goes about his way , without doing all those things that you dont like ?

Does that person still desrve punishment ?

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John Lind wasn't "just in Afghanistan " he fought against US forces , he knew they were there and he knew why . Still being a US citizen , that makes him a traitor .

There is no evidence that Lindh intended to murder Americans or to assist terrorists in doing so. His sole purpose all along was to prevent the Northern Alliance from regaining control of the country that had given them the boot in 1997.

 

If I was in Japan during WW2 , does that make me a traitor ? Of course not , and you know that , you play semantics . If I was in Japan fighting with the Japanese against my country THAT would make me a traitor .

You said earlier that the country he was residing in had executed a casus-belli against the U.S. and that the country was in a state of war with the U.S., therefore he must be a traitor. That's your own conclusion.

 

 

Now if "you are not saying apostates should get a penalty of death " ....then what is it you are trying to say , and WHY are you arguing with me , for I merely asked the question , based on the recent remarks by the Mufti of Egypt .

All I am saying is that we can't just say, "kill any apostate" or "do not kill any apostate". Why is it so hard to understand? Any apostasy case needs to be handled with extra care.

 

Wassalam,

Yasnov

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Btw, you seem to be behaving more nicely with this latest user name. Keep it up ...

 

Wassalam,

Yasnov

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Guest malabar

By MAGGIE MICHAEL, Associated Press Writer

Sat Aug 11, 2:58 PM ET

 

 

 

CAIRO, Egypt - An Egyptian Muslim who converted to Christianity and then took the unprecedented step of seeking official recognition for the change said he has gone into hiding following death threats.

 

 

Mohammed Hegazy, who sparked controversy when pictures of him posing with a poster of the Virgin Mary were published in newspapers, was shunned by his family and threatened by an Islamist cleric vowing to seek his execution as an apostate.

 

"I know there are fatwas (religious edicts) to shed my blood, but I will not give up and I will not leave the country," the 25-year-old Hegazy told The Associated Press from his hideout Thursday.

 

Hegazy made a public splash when he took the unusual step of going to court to change his religion on his national ID card. His first lawyer filed the case, but then quit after the uproar; his second is still considering whether it's worth pursuing.

 

Hegazy said he received telephoned death threats before he went into hiding in an apartment with his wife, a Muslim who took the name Katarina when she converted to Christianity several years ago. She is four months pregnant.

 

He said he wants to change the religion on his ID for two reasons: to set a precedent for other converts and to ensure his child can openly be raised Christian. He wants his child to get a Christian name, birth certificate and eventually marry in a church. That would be impossible if Hegazy's official religion is Muslim, because a child is registered in the religion of the father.

 

There is no Egyptian law against converting from Islam to Christianity, but in this case tradition takes precedent. Under a widespread interpretation of Islamic law, converting from Islam is apostasy and punishable by death — though killings are rare and the state has never ordered or carried out an execution on those grounds.

 

Most Muslims who convert usually practice their new religion quietly or leave the country. Egypt is overwhelmingly Muslim. Only 10 percent of the 76 million population is Christian and converts are typically ostracized by their families. If the conversion becomes known, they may receive death threats from militants or harassment by police, who use laws against "insulting religion" or "disturbing public order" to target them.

 

Christians who become Muslim can get their new religion entered on their IDs and face little trouble from officials, though they too are usually thrown out by their families.

 

There have been a few similar cases in other parts of the Muslim world. In May, Malaysia's highest court refused to recognize the conversion of a Muslim woman to Christianity, saying the case should be handled by religious authorities.

 

Hegazy, who took the Christian name Beshoy after an Egyptian monk, converted to Christianity nine years ago and began attending church in his hometown of Port Said on the Suez Canal.

 

"I started readings and comparative studies in religions," he said. "I found that I am not consistent with Islam teachings. The major issue for me was love. Islam wasn't promoting love as Christianity did."

 

He said after his conversion was discovered, police detained him for three days and tortured him. He said he was harassed several more times.

 

Then, in 2001, he was arrested again after publishing a book of poems critical of the security services. He said he was held for three months on suspicion of sedition, disturbing public order and insulting the president, though he was ultimately released without charge.

 

Hegazy's first lawyer, Mamdouh Nakhlah, told the AP he initially accepted the case because of an editorial last month by one of Egypt's highest Islamic clerics, the Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa. He wrote against the killing of apostates, saying there is no worldly retribution for Muslims who abandon their religion.

 

Gomaa's comments were sharply criticized by Muslim conservatives, who claimed the remarks opened the door for Muslims to leave their faith.

 

Nakhlah said he had hoped Gomaa's statement could signal a chance to set a legal precedent. But he ultimately backed out saying "the atmosphere is not suitable."

 

Hegazy's new lawyer, Ramsis el-Nagger, says he had not decided whether to pursue the case, but is pessimistic about winning because of the conflict around it.

 

If the case makes it to court, it will open an unknown realm of Egyptian law. Earlier this year, a court rejected an attempt by a group of Christians who had converted to Islam but then returned to Christianity and sought to restore their original religion on their ID cards. The case has been appealed.

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