September 5th, 2009 . The case of Rifqa Bary brings to the forefront a continuing problem for moderate Western Muslims. Miss Bary is the 17-year-old runaway who converted to Christianity and fled from her Muslim family because she feared that she would become a victim of Muslim “honor killing”.

Apostasy—that is leaving the Muslim faith–poses one of the greatest problems for ‘moderate’ Muslims living in Western countries. Free Western societies do not allow ‘honor killings’ in the name of Islam and ‘family honor’–yet every single authority and sect of Islam demands that ‘apostates’ be dealt with harshly and forced to re-convert or face death.

An Islamist Watch article summarizes the problem:

All major schools of Islamic jurisprudence stipulate that a sane adult male must be put to death for abandoning Islam, though varying interpretations persist on whether females should be killed or merely imprisoned. Many Islamic states outlaw apostasy and seven list it as a capital offense. However, freelancers such as angry relatives present the greatest danger to ex-Muslims, as Sunni and Shiite scholars largely agree that Shari’a empowers individuals to punish converts. This tradition has followed Muslims to the Western world.

The parents of Rifqa claim that their daughter has nothing to fear from them—yet she did run away in fear of her life due to the threats that she reportedly received from her family.

Many will quote in the Koran 2:256: “There is no compulsion in religion”, but herein lies the paradox–Koran 4:89 states:

“They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah’s way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.”

Most hold that the later verse supersedes the former and Muslim scholars are nearly unanimous in their interpretation that 4:89 calls for apostates to be killed.

This leaves moderate Muslims living in Western countries with a dilemma—if they are faithful to their Muslim traditions than ‘honor killings’ are prescribed when a family member leaves Islam. However, if they do follow through then they run afoul of the law in the Western country where they live.    

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