Death For Apostasy: Spencer Rips Islamic Scholar Cherif Bassiouni

“The punishment for apostasy from the religion of Islam is execution”

Afghanistan Daily Life

Here is a cluebat for those who might be tempted to believe the soothing lies that are coming from Islamic apologists in connection with the Rifqa Bary story: “Why should a person who disbelieves after becoming Muslim be executed? The punishment for the apostate is execution. Why such harshness?,” from Islam Question and Answer, Fatwa No. 12406 (thanks to the Jawa Report) via Jihad Watch:

The punishment for the apostate is execution. Why such harshness?.

Praise be to Allaah.

The punishment for apostasy from the religion of Islam is execution. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And whosoever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will be lost in this life and in the Hereafter, and they will be the dwellers of the Fire. They will abide therein forever”

[al-Baqarah 2:217]

And it was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever changes his religion, execute him.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari in his Saheeh. What this hadeeth means is that whoever leaves Islam and changes to another religion and persists in that and does not repent, is to be executed. It was also proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “It is not permissible to shed the blood of a person who bears witness that there is no god but Allaah and that I am the Messenger of Allaah except in three cases: a life for a life, a previously-married person who commits adultery, and one who leaves Islam and forsakes the jamaa’ah.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

This harsh punishment is for a number of reasons:

1 – This punishment is a deterrent to anyone who wants to enter Islam just to follow the crowd or for hypocritical purposes. This will motivate him to examine the matter thoroughly and not to proceed unless he understands the consequences of that in this world and in the Hereafter. The one who announces his Islam has agreed to adhere to all the rulings of Islam of his own free will and consent, one of which rulings is that he is to be executed if he apostatizes from the faith.

2 – The one who announces his Islam has joined the jamaa’ah (main body) of the Muslims, and whoever joins the main body of the Muslims is required to be completely loyal and to support it and protect it against anything that may lead to fitnah or destroy it or cause division. Apostasy from Islam means forsaking the jamaa’ah and its divine order, and has a harmful effect on it. Execution is the greatest deterrent that will prevent people from committing such a crime.

3 – Those Muslims who are weak in faith and others who are against Islam may think that the apostate has only left Islam because of what he has found out about its real nature, because if it were the truth then he would never have turned away from it. So they learn from him all the doubts, lies and fabrications which are aimed at extinguishing the light of Islam and putting people off from it. In this case executing the apostate is obligatory, in order to protect the true religion from the defamation of the liars and to protect the faith of its adherents and remove obstacles from the path of those who are entering the faith.

4 – We also say that the death penalty exists in the modern laws of man to protect the system from disorder in some situation and to protect society against certain crimes which may cause its disintegration, such as drugs etc. If execution can serve as a deterrent to protect man-made systems, then it is more appropriate that the true religion of Allaah, which Falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it [cf. Fussilat 41:42], and which is all goodness, happiness and tranquility in this world and in the Hereafter should punish those who commit acts of aggression against it and seek to extinguish its light and defame its image, and who fabricate lies against it to justify their apostasy and deviation.

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 21/234-231.

An exchange with an Islamic scholar

Portrait Bassiouini2

M. Cherif Bassiouni, Distinguished Research Professor of Law Emeritus and President Emeritus, International Human Rights Law Institute, DePaul University, has taken issue with my reference to him in this article. This is what I wrote:

Other Islamic spokesmen in the U.S. have been even more flagrantly deceptive. M. Cherif Bassiouni, a professor of Law at DePaul University and President of the International Human Rights Law Institute, asserted about the notorious Abdul Rahman apostasy case in Afghanistan in 2006 that “a Muslim’s conversion to Christianity is not a crime punishable by death under Islamic law.” This is simply false. Islam’s death penalty for apostates is only a dead letter if no one cares or is able to enforce it in a particular case, but it is deeply rooted within Islam. Some argue that it derives from Qur’an 4:89, which speaks of those who have embraced the Islamic faith and then turned “renegade,” directing Muslims to “seize them and slay them wherever ye find them.” Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, said, “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari, vol. 9, bk. 84, no. 57). This is a universal principle in Islamic law. The Islamic scholar and ex-Muslim Ibn Warraq explains that all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence teach this: “Under Muslim law, the male apostate must be put to death, as long as he is an adult, and in full possession of his faculties….According to Hanafis and Shia, a woman is imprisoned until she repents and adopts Islam once more, but according to the influential Ibn Hanbal, and the Malikis and Shafiites, she is also put to death.”

I just received this email from Professor Bassiouni:

Mr. Robert Spencer
Jihad Watch

Dear Mr. Spencer,

I note once again that you are scurrilously attacking me. My position on apostasy has been expressed as early as 1983, namely that at the time of the Prophet it was not considered as only changing one’s mind but that it was the equivalent of joining the enemy and thus constituting high treason. In fact, at one time the Prophet had an agreement with the people in Makkah to return to Makkah all those who came from there, who wished to return after they had converted to Islam. I and a number of other distinguished Muslim scholars have long criticized the views of the four traditional Sunni schools. You may be interested to know that the piece you attribute as being “flagrantly deceptive,” which was published in the Tribune, was a written document submitted to the Court in Kabul in the Abdul Rahman apostasy case.

It is amazing to me how apparently little good faith and intellectual honesty you are displaying in your attack upon Islam and Muslims.

M. Cherif Bassiouni
Distinguished Research Professor of Law Emeritus
President Emeritus, International Human Rights Law Institute, DePaul University

I wrote this back to Professor Bassiouni:

Dear Professor Bassiouni,

Thank you for your kind note. May I publish it at Jihad Watch?

I fail to see how it is a lack of “good faith and intellectual honesty” to note what you yourself seem to assume when you say: “I and a number of other distinguished Muslim scholars have long criticized the views of the four traditional Sunni schools.” You thus appear to acknowledge that the “views of the four traditional Sunni schools” prescribe the death penalty for apostates. I am glad you oppose that position. However, it does seem to contradict the statement I quoted from you in my article: “a Muslim’s conversion to Christianity is not a crime punishable by death under Islamic law.”

If Islamic law does not view conversion to Christianity as a crime punishable by death, why do you criticize the views of the four traditional Sunni schools?

And if the traditional Sunni schools do indeed teach death for apostasy, as they obviously do and as you yourself seem to acknowledge in this note, then why do you accuse me of lacking “good faith and intellectual honesty” when I characterize as false your assertion that “Islamic law” does not prescribe death for apostates?

I’m sorry I didn’t have the honor and pleasure of meeting you when I spoke at DePaul last year. I’d be glad to come back to DePaul at my own expense, at a time convenient to you, in order to engage in a public discussion or debate about the issue of Islamic apostasy law with you. It would be a signal opportunity for you to establish, once and for all and in a public forum, my lack of “good faith and intellectual honesty.”

I look forward to hearing from you, and thank you again for writing.

Kindest regards
Robert Spencer

19 thoughts on “Death For Apostasy: Spencer Rips Islamic Scholar Cherif Bassiouni”

  1. From the Islam Q&A Link:

    …then he would never have turned away from it. So they learn from him all the doubts, lies and fabrications which are aimed at extinguishing the light of Islam and putting people off from it. In this case executing the apostate is obligatory, in order to protect the true religion…

    Basically they are so insecure that their false religion may be exposed for the hate-filled political ideology that it really is, that executing ex-practitioners before they spill the beans is the only way to go! I have yet to hear of a modern day tale where ex-Jews or ex-Christians have been executed for fear of exposing the brutal practices of their religion…..

    Oh thats right, it doesn’t happen at all, ever!

  2. Contrast islam, where apostates are to be executed to “protect the true
    religion”, with Christianity, where apostasy is a “necessary” precursor to the revealing of the Antichrist (eg 2 Thessalonians 2:3).

  3. Amen to that ‘theresaj’ but to paraphrase Monty Python ‘If you told the ‘libtard’ multi culti Islamophile moonbats and Western Politicians that they just won’t believe you’
    And that unfortunately that stupidity will be the death of Western civilization as we know it.

  4. Circular reasoning and dishonesty – the logic of islam – compounded by the lack of a central interpretation.

  5. You will note two issues from the exchanges between the two.

    M. Cherif Bassiouni has acknowledged the difficulty and infiltration in the four Sunni Schools by ultra-conservatives and radicals and that it is a bad situation as the four (or five if you include Shi’ite) are the closest thing to central interpretation (as kaw points out).

    Spencer has shown that he is not interested in discussing anything and will jump back and forwards between declaring something embedded into Islam and then when pointed out something is not, will quickly jump back to the current events to some-how give proof to his attack/smear/assumption/accussation.

    I understand M. Cherif Bassiouni’s comments and he represents the moderate view that I also support. I find it also ironic that Spencer wishes to struggle with what he consideres backwardness and violence in Islam and condemns in his hate-rag Jihad-Watch the lack of modernity BUT will not support but attack a moderate and a well respected academic based in a highly respected western institution. We know, of course, that it is because Spencer is a bigot – yes a word used a lot, but in the end realty hurts but nevertheless it is reality.

  6. Ah, Muslim scholars are masters of “taqqiya” are they not?
    I would love to be present when Robert Spencer takes this jerk on.
    I doubt very much if Professor Bassiouni will accept the invitation, though. The only times that a Muslim male has the balls to stand up to anyone is if he has a baby wearing an explosives vest, front and centre, or is surrounded by his thugs in arms. Otherwise, if they are surrounded by, and become captives of the truth, they surrender with whining and taqqiya.

  7. Taqqiya –

    1. a historical reference to the Prophet Mohammed allowing those Muslims in a battle situation to use deception to support their survival – as a last resort.

    2. in modern days a word almost exclusively used by bigoted right-wing anti-Islam agenda based radicals as an escape clause to allow them to say all sorts of rants, abuse and scorn and then claim that no matter what the reply or retort that it is a lie.

  8. Solkhar obviously endorses the enslavement of that poor, poor woman in the photograph. What sort of men force their women into shrouds whilst still alive. Well, barely alive. That photograph confirms the utter evil of mohammedan men.

  9. Solkhar, would it be taqqiya to claim that the son-less, salvation-less
    “allah” is the same God who sent his only begotten Son Jesus Christ
    to die on the cross for our sins … as you appear to claim:

    [The history of Islam is clear and its religious basis along with that of Christianity and Judaism certainly give confirmation as to an Islamic “religion”. A fifth of humanity prays to the same divine God that you do. I certainly do.] (Solkhar – July 2009)

    “allah” makes it very clear that he has no son (Sura 4:171), and that Jesus Christ was not crucified (Sura 4:157).

    That is blasphemy, and muslims denying that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he was crucified for their sins and resurrected are doomed to spend eternity in hell, for there is no name under heaven apart from Jesus Christ by which men might be saved (Acts 4:12).

    Do not resist and reject the truth of Jesus Christ, Solkhar, and do not
    pretend that “allah” is divine, or the same god as that in the Holy Bible (Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

    I most certainly do not pray to “allah”, and I pray in Jesus’ name;
    He being the one mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5)

  10. Fitzgerald: M. Cherif Bassiouni and opportunities, seized and missed
    What an opportunity M. Cherif Bassiouni provided. And Robert Spencer was akin to that Robber Baron of the Mauve Decade who proudly explained, “I sees my opportunities, and I took ‘em.”

    The amazing exchange between M. Cherif Bassiouni, Distinguished Research Professor of Law Emeritus and President Emeritus, International Human Rights Law Institute, DePaul University, and Robert Spencer would fill any polemicist with envy. Rich in years and honors and worldly acclaim and so on and so forth he may be, but still the not-quite-candid-and-more-than-slightly-confused M. Cherif Bassiouni has just seen his own polemic carefully taken apart, in public (“in the full light of history”), with the resulting parts then held up for examination and silent — there is no need for sound effects here, the sound can be turned off — ridicule.

    Spencer’s reply to him is unanswerable. He has no answer. He must now remain silent. And if he still has some of his wits about him, he must at this point be truly mortified. For what can he say? He’s one of those eminences so used to being an eminence, he can’t quite fathom those who do not yield to his (to him) self-evident authority and rank, and who demand of him such things as truthfulness, logic, consistency — you know, stuff like that. He expects, but in this case did not receive, the accustomed salaam-salaaming of everyone. I could have told him — I happen to know — that Robert Spencer is no respecter of parsons. We’re in America now, and the Argument From Authority (I’m the famous legal scholar, you have to defer to me) cuts no ice here. The same intellectual standards are required for all. And M. Cherif Bassiouni is clearly no Lauterpacht, or De Visscher, or — nota bene — Julius Stone.

    Continue reading “Fitzgerald: M. Cherif Bassiouni and opportunities, seized and missed”

  11. Where are the ex muslim associations in the UK and Europe? They used to get quite a bit of publicity. There is a good ex muslim website..I think it is called faith freedom international.
    I was friends with a lovely malay man who became a Christian many years ago. He was one of the fortunate ones in that his family did not abandon him. There is a phenomena that sees many muslims become Christians thru dreams, visions and healings..I have heard of this a lot in Malysia and it also happens in Pakistan.
    How can islam really be a religion when noone is free to leave it? It has to be a cult or a prison.
    I was told awhile ago that the reason the Malaysian authorities come down hard on malays wanting to be Christians is that they fear if they softened their stance, there would be a floodgate with thousands of malays wanting to become Christian.

  12. Any public debate with M. Cherif Bassiouni and Spencer – in fact anyone vs Spencer would go nowhere and that is why it would be a waste to do so.

    The reason is very clear and I mentioned in my above post. Spencer would argue that something is a religious requirement and then when told it is not, he will side-step very quickly to say that it is a present reality and thus condemnable and if the side-step is pointed out, Spencer will then change the subject slightly to focus to something else.

    I noticed that the bloger has started to go for the “taqqiya escape clause” that is used when someone has run out of weak and pathetic excuses or his propoganda has been exposed. My guess is that if put to the wall in a debate and forced to stick to one topic, even Spencer would use it.

    Interesting, when you go through the actual background of Spencer’s claims that he is still invited to Universities to discuss Islam that it is not by the University academics – because they dispise him – but it is the right-wing students associations and their use of the Univeristy facilities.

  13. A debate with M. Cherif Bassiouni and Spencer?

    Bassiouni is dead in the water, shredded, roasted, cooked, kaput, finished.

    Anybody with ordinary intelligence can look at the above and read for himself that the good professor is a goose.

    Trying to defend the indefensible, what does that make you, Solkhar?

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