A 32 year old Protestant Iranian pastor with a young family is on trial in Iran for apostasy from the Muslim faith. He stands at grave risk of being executed, although he has been told that he would be a free man if only he would ‘repent’, renounce his Christian faith and return to Islam. Interestingly, a Muslim blogger, Hesham Hassaballa, has responded in the most powerful way possible: by proving from the very words of the Quran that such treatment is against the teachings of Islam. A sample:
The evidence is overwhelming: Islam firmly upholds freedom of choice in matters of faith. Indeed, some Muslims do not, but their sins do not speak for the entire faith. Rather, their sins are an affront to the principles of Islam.
The Iranian authorities must let Pastor Nadarkhani free. The choice of faith that he makes is his alone, and he will face the Lord in the end for his choice.
Even if the head Shaikh of Al Azhar University converted to Catholicism, it would not diminish the truth of Islam’s message one iota. The Qur’an is quite confident in the truth it speaks, and so should it be with its adherents.
When will Muslim fundamentalists in Egypt and all over the world understand that if they want to be true to their own religion, they need to accept freedom of religion?
I think we will be waiting for a long time. This kind of fanaticism is nothing new for the Copt. An interesting historical article about important Coptic historical figure, Girgis El Gohary by Dioscorus Boles highlights some of the horrible circumstances Copts endured as recently as the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Surely we, as a human race, have moved on from such barbarism?