Saturday, October 18, 2014

Somali Muslim Clerics Balk At Anti-Apostasy Booklet By Somali Muslim Scholar

There are Muslims trying to reform Islam. Not many, since those who do try are often targeted by the more radical elements in the religion. But there are some. Take Saudi educated Somali scholar Abdisaid Ismail who recently published a small booklet tackling the subject of punishment (which is usually death) for apostasy in Islam.  The book Xadka Riddada Maxaa ka Run Ah? (Is There Punishment for Apostasy in Islam?) was published in Nairobi, and discusses whether punishment is dictated by Islam, as well as touching on women's equality issues.

The book, which is little more than 130 pages, is unsettling the Somali militants as it challenges their misuse of Islam as a political tool.

Xadka Riddada, as it is commonly known, seems to be more dangerous for Islamist militants in Somalia than the thousands of troops sent by the African Union to the Horn of Africa nation, or the millions of dollars spent every month fighting Islamist terrorists.

The resistance to the book by radical clerics shows the fight against terrorism is essentially one of ideas rather than military might.
He has done extensive research on the issue of apostasy in Islam and freedom of religion, and concluded that Islam does not prescribe the death penalty for apostasy, and that freedom of religion is clearly enshrined in Islam.

The booklet is a counter-narrative to the Islamist position that Muslims cannot abandon their religion and if they do, they should be killed -- a doctrine used to justify wanton killings in Somalia.

Ismail's take on Sharia:

Mr Ismail argues that many of the doctrines in Islam are based on the out-dated Arab socio-economic situation of the sixth century, and that much of the Islamic Jurisprudence now used by Islamists is no more than tribal reading of key religious sources.
He advocates the separation of Mosque and State, so to speak, which is contrary to the rallying call by Islamist jihadists and their ideologues for Sharia as the supreme law in Muslim countries. This call is equivalent to the Bible being declared the law in Christian countries, an unthinkable preposition in this day and age.

He also condemns "moderates" for opposing reform and basically siding with the extremists vis-à-vis their violence and brutality.

As expected, it is not being very well received by extremists, who believe apostates should be executed, and that women should remain barefoot and pregnant, and out of sight.  The book was condemned, and radical clerics have called the book "apostasy", and the death threats ensued. He was even thrown out of a Kenyan hotel in Eastleigh, and his booklet has been banned from book stores there. In democratic, liberal Kenya, no less.

So, according to Ismail, 'moderate' Muslims are not any more enlightened than extremists.

How long do you suppose the poor man will survive?

Source: AllAfrica.

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