Egypt’s Grand Mufti comes out against the killing of apostates

Posted on July 26, 2007


By OMAR SINAN, Associated Press Writer

One of Egypt’s most senior Muslim clerics has raised controversy by saying there is no worldly retribution for Muslims who abandon their religion, prompting an outcry from conservatives insisting Islamic law requires such apostates be killed.

The editorial in The Washington Post came from Egypt’s Grand Mufti, Ali Gomaa, who is the highest official authority for issuing fatwas, or religious edicts.

The flap reflects the sharp, ongoing debate among Muslims over interpretation of Islamic law in an era when many in the West and some in the Islamic world blame hardline ideology for fueling militancy and terrorism.

Gomaa’s comments came in an editorial he contributed to a Post series on Muslim voices explaining their faith.

“The essential question before us is can a person who is Muslim choose a religion other than Islam? The answer is yes, they can, because the Quran says, ‘Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion,'” he wrote, citing from Islam’s holy book.

“If the case in question is one of merely rejecting faith, then there is no worldly punishment,” Gomaa wrote it the article, published in The Post last weekend. “The matter is left until the Day of Judgment, and it is not to be dealt with in the life of this world.” [more]