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Apostasy in Islam: Public or Private? Classical and Contemporary Discussions of Muslim Scholars and their Relevance for Muslims in the West

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Chapter Summary

This chapter handles two main questions, namely did Muslim scholars approach apostasy as a public or private issue? And how do the different approaches of these scholars relate to the current situation of Muslims living as religious minorities in the West? Different approaches adopted by Muslim scholars on apostasy are: public, private and neutral. The first remark is that there is a tangible development within Islamic law concerning the issue of apostasy. The second remark is that there is also diversity of opinions among contemporary Muslim councils specialised in studying the situation of Muslims living in the West such as the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) and the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America (AMJA). The third and final remark is that within the diversity of opinions, there is a general agreement, namely, death penalty as punishment for apostasy cannot be applied among Muslims in the West.

Keywords: apostasy; Islamic law; muslim scholars



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