Also, PaulMarshall notes: "Other countries, like Egypt, that have no laws against apostasy,instead use laws against 'insulting Islam' or 'creating sectarian strife.' In 2003, Egyptiansecurity forces arrested 22 converts and people who had helped them. Some were tortured,and one, Isam Abdul Fathr, died in custody. Last year, Gaseer Mohamed Mahmoud waswhipped and had his toenails pulled out by police, and was told he would be imprisoned untilhe gave up Christianity."Bassiouni continues: ³States that recognize it as a crime punishable by death include Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. However, there are no known cases in recenttimes in which someone charged with apostasy in these countries has been put to death.´However,Marshall assertsthat "in the last ten years Saudi Arabia has executed people for thecrimes of apostasy, heresy, and blasphemy" and "in the 1990s, the Islamic Republic of Iranused death squads against converts, including major Protestant leaders, and the situation isworsening under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The regime is currently engaged in asystematic campaign to track down and reconvert or kill those who have changed their religion from Islam."But perhaps even more important than the simple inaccuracy of Bassiouni's statements here isthe fact that if such laws are on the books, that is enough. They can then be reasserted at anytime, even if they are ignored for long periods.Bassiouni then appeals to the Qur'an. In doing so, he ends up acknowledging that his is aminority position among Islamic scholars. ³The principal category of crimes in Islam iscalled
. These crimes are referred to in the Koran and thus require prosecution. Theyare: adultery, theft, transgression (physical aggression), highway robbery, slander and alcoholconsumption. Apostasy is included in this list by
, but not by
others.´ Heasserts that ³turning away from Islam, which is translated as apostasy, would not have beenconsidered a crime, except the Prophet Muhammad (praise be upon him) in the 7th Centuryapplied the death penalty to a Muslim who turned away from Islam. Historians of the Sunnah,the tradition established by the Prophet and deemed binding upon all Muslims, failed to notea significant fact about that case--that person not only had a change of faith, but decided to join the enemies of Islam at a time of war, thus making it a crime of high treason. Such acrime exists in all legal systems, many with the death penalty.´But it is not true that Muhammad ordered the execution only of apostates who joined theenemies of Islam. His statement
baddala deenahu, faqtuhulu
-- if anyone changes hisreligion, kill him -- includes no caveat. He didn't say, "If anyone changes his religion, killhim only if he joins the enemies of Islam." He simply said, "If anyone changes his religion,kill him." This statement is amply attested in the Hadith, and is accepted as authentic by allexcept the most disingenuous Islamic scholars. It appears in various forms in Bukhari, IbnMajah, An-Nasai, Tayalisi, Malik, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud, and other authorities. Nor does Muhammad make any exception when enunciating the principle in this way: "The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and thatI am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married personwho commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) andleaves the Muslims" (Bukhari, vol. 9, bk. 83, no. 17).