van Beynen on Islamic extremism

A very good column by Martin van Beynen:

While there can be no disputing that only a minority of Muslims believe in taking their beliefs to extremes, an intrinsic part of Islamic teaching justifies the death of opponents, non-believers or believers in other religions.

And a large minority of Muslims support the death penalty for apostates. I estimate around 32%.

An ancient text can be used to justify a variety of lethal behaviour as the history of Christianity has shown but, as some commentators have pointed out, you don’t get the feeling the Islamic world is moving away from fundamentalist interpretations of the Koran.

There are almost no people in Christianity demanding that there be an empire run on old testament law.

There are a fair amount in wanting an empire run on a fundamentalist 7th century version of Islamic law.

As British columnist Rod Liddle pointed out recently in the Sunday Times, it is only in Islamic countries that people risk being put to death for blasphemy or apostasy (renouncing Islam).

“It is not just Muslim extremists who want to punish people for apostasy and blasphemy; it is the view of the mainstream Islamic world,” he writes.

And this is the challenge – not just the jihadists, but the laws in many Islamic countries.

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