Think again. Abdul Rahman isn’t the first…and unless Islamic law changes…he certainly won’t be the last.
From Daveed Gartenstein-Ross:
Middle Easterners who leave the Islamic faith have faced serious persecution for decades. Many have been killed, either by the state or by their former co-religionists. But the Abdul Rahman case marked the first time in recent memory that this practice has attracted significant attention. The issue extends far beyond Afghanistan and poses a problem not just for converts from Islam, but for all those who have invested in a strategy of peace through democratization.
A BROAD CONSENSUS EXISTS through much of the Islamic world that apostates from the faith deserve to be killed. This consensus could be glimpsed in Abdul Rahman’s case, where the judge, Ansarullah Mawlavezada, said, “In this country we have the perfect constitution. It is Islamic law and it is illegal to be a Christian and it should be punished.” Even the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, expected to take a more moderate stance, called for Abdul Rahman’s punishment, claiming that he clearly violated Islamic law.
But apostasy laws stretch far beyond Afghanistan. At least 14 Islamic countries make conversion out of Islam illegal. The crime is punishable by death in at least eight of these states, either through explicit anti-apostasy laws or the broader offense of blasphemy.
Again, this is a clear sign that Islamic law needs to change. You can’t claim that yours is a religion of peace while violently opposing religious freedom. It just doesn’t add up.