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Sharia doesn’t discuss execution for apostasy?

ICC Note

What does the Sharia teach about Muslims who convert to Christianity? How is the media handling the case of Rifqa Bary? Please read this article for the answers.

By Mollie

10/19/2009 Islam (’s something curious about the way the media have been handling the difficult and complicated story of Rifqa Bary. She’s the Ohio teenager (pictured here) who fled to Florida after she converted to Christianity over concerns her Muslim father might kill her. We last looked at this story when CNN inexplicably referred to the girl as “Muslim” even though the whole point of this saga is that she’s not.

More recently, the Religion News Service has an interesting story about the case. The lede places the court battle over the case as just the latest example of crazy custody battles taking place in Florida :

If you’re involved in a high-stakes custody fight, Florida , it seems, is the place to be.

Could Rifqa’s father in Ohio really kill her for leaving Islam to embrace Christianity? Has the 17-year-old read too many fundamentalist Christian Web sites? Or is it all just teen dramatics?


In Islamic law (sharia), the consensus view is that a male apostate must be put to death unless he suffers from a mental disorder or converted under duress, for example, due to an imminent danger of being killed. A female apostate must be either executed, according to Shafi’i, Maliki, and Hanbali schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), or imprisoned until she reverts to Islam as advocated by the Sunni Hanafi school and by Shi’a scholars.

A minority of medieval Islamic jurists held that apostasy carries no legal punishment these minority opinions have not found broad acceptance among the majority of Islamic scholars.

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