Sunday, September 16, 2007

Brave Muslim Apostates call for Reform

Last week the Times carried an exciting article about brave Muslims' campaign to make it safe to leave their religion. This news comes from the Netherlands:

A group of young Muslim apostates launches a campaign today... to make it easier to renounce Islam... The provocative move reflects a growing rift between traditionalists and a younger generation raised on a diet of Dutch tolerance... Similar organisations campaigning for reform of the religion have sprung up across Europe and representatives from Britain and Germany will join the launch in The Hague today.

This may not seem like a big deal to you. Members of traditional churches in the U.S. may suffer if they commit a grave offense against or renounce their faith, but repercussions are generally limited to the religious life. Excommunicated, you're free to go on with some emotional bruises and your principles intact to find a church that suits you- or no church at all, if you please. That's not the case with Islam.

The Koran teaches that believers must kill anyone who turns from Islam. Read this for yourself. Search the online Koran provided by the University of Michigan for the word “kill”- you'll find that Sura 4:89 reads as described in the Times article. The hadith, a collection of tradition and legend about Muhammad and his followers, is just as harsh. It tells of a special reward in paradise for killers of apostates.

The founder of the Committee for Ex-Muslims , Ehsan Jami, says in the article:

Sharia schools say that they will kill the ones who leave Islam... In Islam you are born Muslim. You do not even choose to be Muslim. We want that to change, so that people are free to choose who they want to be and what they want to believe in.”

The freedom to choose terrifies the European Muslim community and its authorities, who fear the competition among ideas that flourishes in a free state. This can't be stopped by any power short of totalitarianism. Islam will reform or it will die after a long, disappointing and increasingly irrelevant senescence.

Major questions remain. When will enlightened NON-apostate Muslims be brave enough to stand up for this important freedom? Secondly, the article and references linked cite participants from Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands. When will American Muslims stand up and add their voices to this call for reform?