Sunday, October 2, 2011

Iran’s death penalty for Christian pastor violates treaties, Koran

Indeed there is absolutely no punishment for apostasy in Quraan; one is free to become a Muslim and free to leave the faith. After all no one is to bear the burden of the other, he alone is responsible for his belief.

A majority of Muslim scholars believe that there is no punishment for apostasy, but cannot their act together to issue a joint statement to put an end to this non-sense that keeps coming up every few years.  In the last decade there have been a few known cases, one was Lina Joy in Malaysia and the other was Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan, both were dismissed due to international pressure.  We need the same now for Youcef Nadarkhani.
Let people have the freedom to choose what they want to believe, it is really none of any one’s business, indeed on the day of Judgment, God is clear about it – you alone are responsible for your deeds. Prophet Muhammad told his own daughter that she will not get a free pass to paradise because she is daughter of the prophet; she has to earn it through good deeds.
In the comment section of the article some one brought up the abrogation theories and challenged the author. Indeed, in essence abrogation theorists state that God goofed up badly, he says one thing and then comes back and says, "Oh, I don't mean that, here take this new and improved verse and ignore what I said before." God does not make mistakes, what he says he means it. We have to go deeper and understand it rather than taking a short cut of abrogation.
I hope and pray that the Muslim scholars and Imams speak up and stop the misinformed from abusing the religion. Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq has put together a site on the topic, please read it and if you are a Imam or a scholar, kindly sign it.

And I hope to put a petition to gether, unless some one has done it already, in which case we urge Muslims and non-Muslims to sign the petition and urge the Iranian clerics to release Yocef Nadarkhani.
Mike Ghouse
Committed to building cohesive societies
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Muslim leader: Iran’s death penalty for Christian pastor violates treaties, Koran

Editor’s Note: With its plans to execute Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, Iran’s Shi’ite Muslim government is violating not only international treaties, but the very teachings of the Prophet Mohammed, says an American Muslim leader, Harris Zafar of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA.

As with Christianity, Islam has “denominations,” such as the Wahhabis, the Suffis and the Shi’ites, the largest being the Sunnis. Zafar is a spokesman for the Ahmadis, which emerged from the Sunnis in 1889, led by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad who said he fulfilled the prophecies concerning Jesus’ Second Coming, the return of the Muslim Mahdi, the return of the Hindus’ Krishna and the reincarnation of Buddha. His followers today claim tens of millions of members in 190 countries with most in India and Africa.

by Harris Zafar
Special to Beliefnet

In Iran, Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani faces the death penalty for the “crime” of leaving Islam as a teenager and converting to Christianity. A translated Iranian Supreme Court brief from 2010 states that 32-year-old Nadarkhani “is convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion, the prophesy of Mohammad at the age of 19.” While there is widespread public outcry of support for his specific case, some are speaking broadly about the punishment for apostasy. Many – Muslim and non-Muslim – mistakenly believe that Islam supports this barbaric practice.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Islam prescribes absolutely no punishment for apostasy. If one were to assume that Islam prescribes some sort of punishment for a person who chooses to leave Islam, that would invariably mean that Islam forces one to be a Muslim against their will. But chapter two of the Holy Qur’an emphatically denies this possibility, stating “there shall be no compulsion in religion.” This is an unambiguous declaration protecting freedom of conscience and choice.

Sadly, there are unfortunate souls within the Muslim world arguing that this verse only applies to non-Muslims, thereby meaning that only a non-Muslim cannot be compelled, whereas a Muslim can be compelled or coerced in matters of religion. This argument is patently absurd. Islam affords its followers freedom of conscience and religion, with no threat of coercion or compulsion in matters of faith. They are not answerable to any person or government in regards to their conscience.

The Quran is replete with this instruction that everyone has the fundamental freedom of religion. In Chapter 18, it says “This is the truth from your Lord; then let him who will, believe, and let him who will, disbelieve.” Why is this so difficult for these so-called Islamic “scholars” to understand? They spit in the face of the religion they claim to defend by not only violating these teachings but then falsely attributing their vile sense of justice to the tolerant faith of Islam. The allegation that Islam advocates the use of force to spread or maintain itself does not originate from a study of the sources of Islamic teachings. Rather, it originates from a study of the conduct of some so-called “Muslim” states.

In fact, we read more about this principle in Chapter 10 of the Holy Quran when God speaks to the Prophet Muhammad and instructs him to say to all people: “O mankind, the Truth has indeed come to you from your Lord. Then whoso follows the guidance, follows it only for the good of his own self, and whoso errs does so only to his own detriment. I am not appointed a keeper over you.” So if the Prophet himself is not appointed as a keeper to enforce faith over people, then who in the world do these governments think they are to appoint themselves as keepers over people? The only example of those killed were not because they left Islam but because they joined an opposing army at war with Muslims.

In addition to violating Islamic law, Iranian courts are also in violation of international law. In 1975, Iran ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 18 of which states: “No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion of his choice.” The U.N. Human Rights Committee recognized in 1993 that Article 18 ensures the right to replace one’s current religion or belief with another and forbids coercion that would impair this right.

As a state party to the ICCPR, Iran is obligated to defend the right of individuals to practice the religion of their choice and to change religions if they so choose. Even the Iranian Constitution states in Article 23: “The investigation of individuals’ beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief.” Apostasy is not a crime under any of these codified laws.

Unfortunately, some jurists, including Ayatollah Khomeini (whose teachings hold a privileged position in contemporary Iranian courts), have ruled that the penalty for apostasy is death. But Islam, as well as international law (and even general human decency) dictate that Iran is committing injustice. I call upon the government of Iran to live up to the true principles of Islam and to let Mr. Nadarkhani go free and then to repent for making a mockery of not only their authority but also of Islam.
The author can be reached at
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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.