Convert or Die -- Jamie Glazov Symposium
The silence surrounding the forced conversions of Steve Centanni and Olaf Wigg is deafening. Not a peep of protest from all the usual bearded and turbaned suspects normally eager to declare fatwas, edicts and denunciations at the drop of a cartoon or the rumor of a Koran toilet-dunking. Mustafa Akyol, a Muslim journalist from Istanbul, Turkey gamely attempts to deny that forced conversion is an Islamic doctrine. Robert Spencer, David Aikman and Andrew Bostom take on the debate. Fascinating, lengthy, in-depth and highly informative and scholarly. So, are Steve and Olaf still Muslims? Will they be killed for apostasy if they dare to attend Christmas Eve services this year? Is there compulsion in Islam? And what's with Ahmadinejad and Bin Laden and Zawahiri constantly calling for the West to convert or face the consequences? I demand they convert to Christianity - how's that?
FrontPage magazine.com :: Symposium: Convert or Die by Jamie Glazovpolitical positions.
Mustafa Akyol, let me begin with you. What do you make of the forced conversions of the two Fox journalists and with the Gadahn calls for the conversions of the people he named?
As a Muslim, how do you regard these events?
Akyol: First, greetings to all participants and readers of this symposium. And thanks for having me.
This is an important topic and, as a Muslim, my position is clear: I am absolutely against the concept of forced conversion, which I believe is in opposition to the basic principles of the Qur'an. The verse you mentioned -- “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:256) -- is very clear and there are also other ones, such as, "It is the truth from your Lord; so let whoever wishes have faith and whoever wishes be unbeliever." (18:29) There is nothing in the Qur'an which would justify a forced conversion to Islam. Indeed a purely Qur'anic Muslim view should cherish full religious freedom.
However, the post-Qur'anic Islamic literature is not so friendly to religious freedom. The hadiths and the jurists' opinions based on them added a lot of extra rules and regulations due to the political needs of the early Islamic empire. The ban on apostasy was such a post-Qur'anic rule that I think we Muslims should abandon right away. People should have the right to leave Islam and choose other religions if they decide to do so.
While I applaud Mustafa Akyol’s endeavor to construct an Islam free from “hadiths and the jurists' opinions,” unfortunately those traditions and rulings are normative for the overwhelming majority of Muslims worldwide. Since many of these ahadith are attributed to Muhammad himself and are found in hadith collections generally considered reliable by Muslims (such as Bukhari’s), it is extremely difficult to convince orthodox Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims to dismiss them. For them, the ban on apostasy from Islam is not just a “post-Qur'anic rule,” but a supreme evil, as it was regarded, according to many ahadith, by Muhammad himself[...]
[...] David Aikman continues:
I applaud Mustafa Akyol's denunciation of the forced conversion of Fox newsmen Centanni and Wiig, but I fear that Mr. Akyol's humane disgust with conversion at the end of a gun-barrel is largely because he has benefited from having grown up in modernTurkey, which, since its founding in the 20 th. century by Attaturk, has been blessed by a secular state and not an Islamic one. If Mr. Akyol were resident in many other Muslim countries around the world, he would at best be repudiated for the un-shariah approach to the issue he expressed in this forum, at worst threatened with physical harm or death. What I do wish to address is what this new, threatening component in the discourse of Islamic militants means for the whole of the human race. It amounts to a war for a totalitarian control not just of its adversaries all over the world, but of the world as a whole. It aspires to coerce the entire world into conversion to Islam or into the humiliating acceptance of "dhimmi" status. In effect, Al Qaeda and all who support it are waging a war not just on the West, not just on the remains of a Christendom almost fatally weakened by political correctness and notions of moral equivalence, but on global civilization itself. Terrorist strikes and plots by advocates of global jihad have been committed or plotted in a variety of countries that makes little sense from the perspective of their various