Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Different reactions to apostasy in the Middle East

Religious freedom continues to be a point of concern in the Middle East, reports Roger Hardy, the Middle East analyst for BBC News.

Hardy quotes Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch, who discusses how it is easy to convert to Islam, yet very difficult to convert to Christianity. This second process is described as frustrating, especially since the individual who is converting is required to go to court.

There is also a suppression of religious freedom through Egypt’s ID cards. Egypt only officially recognizes Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, therefore making it difficult for individuals to identify themselves as Baha’i on their identification. However, there have been two court cases of late with somewhat positive results for this religious minority.

The issue of apostasy, defined as the abandonment of one’s faith, is also a concern in other Muslim nations like Afghanistan and Iran. Some Muslim scholars prefer to punish those who leave Islam with the death penalty, while others prefer different measures. Abdal Hakim Murad, a Cambridge University lecturer, explains why there are differences in Islamic law: “There’s a few things on which everybody agrees – pray five times a day, fast in Ramadan – but, in terms of public law, on most issues there is no consensus.”

For the full article, click here.


Post a Comment

<< Home