There really is no compulsion

“Islamic law on apostasy has been much misinterpreted, as the work of several prominent scholars shows.”

Analysis of readers comments on the above Guardian Cif post by Inayat Bunglawala 21 July 2009 – See full post here

The question here is not whether Cif readers agree or disagree with Mr Bunglawala but whether they are in sympathy with what he says and attach the same importance to it. The reaction seems to be: “It’s all very well saying that, but … “

The great majority of Cif readers, 95%, are not in sympathy with him.

Sample chart

This is based on all the comments made by readers and the votes they received. Details are given in the table below.

Readers Comments Votes for Comments
Number % Number %
Strongly For 0 0 0 0
For 1 5.5 1 0.5
Neutral 2 11.1 7 3.7
Against 6 33.3 62 32.8
Strongly Against 9 50.0 119 63.0
Totals 18 100.0 189 100.0


The following brief extracts from readers comments represent what they had to say.

…. Having divided the world into “dar ul-harb” and “dar us-salaam” anyone who voluntarily leaves the latter place/abode of peace crosses over to the abode of war and in doing so commits an action of sedition (Fitna) against the Umma. Until this interpretation is challenged forcefully …. any possibility of changing mindsets is doomed to failure.

…. However you might like to dress it up, there has been a consensus on apostacy for about 1400 years. What you are claiming is not how Islam has been interpreted traditionally, it is not how it is interpreted, by and large, today. I doubt it is the way it will be interpreted in the future either, but let’s hope I am wrong.

…. All major Islamic schools of legal thought continue to hold that apostasy is punishable by death, treason or no.

Don’t waste your time talking to westerners … Talk to the religious leaders of the Muslim world, and point out to them that as long as this is the case, the rest of the world will continue to view Islam, with full justification, as a religion that is fundamentally unfair, insecure, and cruel.

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