Saturday 10 May 2008

Could I stop being a Muslim?

Another from Radio 4's religion-fest a couple of weeks ago:
Could I stop being a Muslim?

Former Muslim radical Shiraz Maher spent his student days campaigning for an Islamic caliphate in which execution for renouncing Islam would be written into the constitution.

Now Shiraz is calling for moderation and greater Muslim integration into British life, a stance which has meant he himself is now labelled an apostate by some Muslim radicals, for which the penalty is death.

He asks whether such an extreme punishment is really justified by the Qur'an and the example of the Prophet Muhammad.

Converts from Muslim backgrounds share their stories with Shiraz.

Ziya Meral gew up in Turkey and now lives in the UK. His parents disowned him when he converted from Islam to Christianity.

"They told people I died in an accident rather than having the shame of their son leaving Islam."

'Sophia' was living in East London when she converted to Christianity. She ran away from home, but her mother tracked her down and turned up to disrupt her baptism.

"My brother was really angry. He reacted and phoned me on my mobile and just said: 'I'm coming down to burn that church.'"

Read more in this BBC News article:

"When Muslims become Christians" - BBC News Magazine
The audio of the 36 minute radio programme can be streamed (RealPlayer) from the 'listen again' service:

Download RealPlayer here

The programme appears to be an honest attempt, by an insider, to discover the truth about Islam's penalty for apostasy.