This Brutality is not Islam

In 1948, most of the world’s Muslim-majority nations signed up to theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights, including article 18, “the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” which includes, crucially, the “freedom to change his religion or belief”. The then Pakistani foreign minister, Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, wrote: “Belief is a matter of conscience, and conscience cannot be compelled.”

Fast-forward to 2011: 14 Muslim-majority nations make conversion away from Islam illegal; several – including Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Sudan – impose the death penalty on those who disbelieve. The self-styled Islamic Republic of Iran has sentenced to death by hanging a Christian pastor, born to Muslim parents, for apostasy. At the time of writing, Youcef Nadarkhani, head of a network of Christian house churches in Iran, is on death row for refusing to recant and convert back to Islam.


Muslims Endure Double Standard on Issue of Violence

Question: Is someone who acts violently in the name of a religion that asserts peace a true follower of that religion?

Answer: This question has been with humanity, religious and not, since the beginning of religions that assert peace. Most recently, the question was raised after the bombing in downtown Oslo, Norway, was closely followed by the shocking mass shooting at a Norwegian youth camp on the island of Utoya.

Major news outlets pinned the blame for the attacks on Muslim extremists. The New York Times briefly reported that a terrorist organization called “Helpers of Global Jihad” had claimed responsibility, while the British newspaper The Sun declared that the events were “Norway’s 9/11.”