It was reported yesterday that a woman in Sudan has been sentenced to death for the crime of apostasy – leaving the Muslim faith – after she married a Christian man.
It’s appalling and obscene, but unfortunately not very shocking. Sharia is absolutely clear on death as the punishment for apostasy, and surveys show worryingly high percentages of Muslims living in the UK – not ‘extremists’ but the supposedly moderate bulk of believers – agree with it.
It reminded me of this brilliant video, in which Richard Dawkins repeatedly questions Dr Mohamad Mukadam on the punishment for apostasy. Mukadam, as Chairman of the Association of Muslim Schools, was desperate to present himself as an acceptable, moderate multiculturalist, arguing that non-Muslims should adopt a ‘live and let live’ attitude and allow him to raise his family – and run over 130 faith schools in the UK – according to his own religious conscience. However, eventually Dawkins’s interrogation forces Mukadam to admit that Islam doesn’t offer the same discretion to other religions, and in fact prohibits the wrong decision, made in the exercise of free religious choice, on punishment of death.
Watching the video again, however, I’ve realised I may have misjudged Dr Mukadam. Listen closely to what he actually says at the end. In response to Dawkins’s question, his final admission is:
“Apostrophe is dealt with the death penalty.”
Assuming he means incorrect use of the apostrophe, that is, I can’t help but agree.