Pastor's possible execution reveals nuances of Islamic law
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani preaches in a file photo.
October 7th, 2011
06:55 PM ET

Pastor's possible execution reveals nuances of Islamic law

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) - The possible hanging of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani for converting from Islam to Christianity has exposed a division among Islamic jurists on whether Iran would be violating Islamic law by carrying out the execution.

According to some of these scholars, the Quran not only outlaws the death penalty for the charge of apostasy, but under Sharia law, conversion from Islam is not a punishable offense at all.

"Instead, it says on a number of occasions that God prefers and even demands that people believe in Him, but that He will handle rejection of such belief by punishing them in the afterworld," wrote Intisar Rabb, an assistant professor of law at Boston College and a faculty affiliate in research at Harvard Law School, in an e-mail to CNN.

But Rabb also acknowledges that there is a more nuanced view to Islamic law, too.

Clark Lombardi, an associate professor of law at the University of Washington, said there is more room for interpretation because the Quran is not the only source of Islamic law.

"Most Muslims look past the Quran and say the Quran needs to be looked at in the practice of the Prophet. So they look to see what rules the prophet laid down," Lombardi said.

And, according to Lombardi, if you look at literature about the life of Mohammed, "then apostasy is clearly something very bad. And there are examples of apostates being punished."

What emerges from this is a complicated division between whether apostasy is punishable in the first place and, if it is punishable, for what reason.

"Most Muslims, most but not all, believe that apostasy is a deep and terrible sin," Lombardi said. "The question of whether the state should punish deep and terrible sins is in fact something that Muslims do disagree about."

Nadarkhani, the leader of a network of Christian house churches in Iran, was first convicted of apostasy in November 2010, a charge he subsequently appealed. Though news reports from Iran have indicated the pastor is now charged with "security related crimes" and is no longer charged with apostasy, briefs obtained by CNN from the 2010 Supreme Court case show the pastor's original charge was solely apostasy.

"He (Nadarkhani) has stated that he is a Christian and no longer Muslim," states the Supreme Court brief. "During many sessions in court with the presence of his attorney and a judge, he has been sentenced to execution by hanging according to article 8 of Tahrir - olvasileh."

Harris Zafar, national spokesperson of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, does not mince words on the subject, stating in a Huffington Post opinion piece that "Islam prescribes absolutely no punishment for apostasy."

"Chapter two of the Holy Quran emphatically denies this possibility, stating 'there shall be no compulsion in religion," writes Zafar. "This is an unambiguous declaration protecting freedom of conscience and choice."

Mohammad Fadel, associate professor of law at University of Toronto, said that there is a difference, though, between just being a nonbeliever and being someone who is actively preaching a religion other than Islam. Fadel said Nadarkhani's preaching "may be viewed as a kind of treasonous comment."

"Even for people who reject Islam religiously, many still identify them with the religion culturally, even if they aren't religious," Fadel said.

According to Rabb, the idea for punishing apostasy stems from medieval times, when your religious affiliation was the basis for your citizenship. Renouncing your faith was also announcing your intent to no longer regard yourself a citizen of that community - in effect, treason.

But as time went on, your religious affiliation is no longer closely tied to your citizenship. "Now, we have an era of territory-based citizenship," Rabb wrote.

"The problem in the modern period is that contemporary states apply medieval rules in unreflective ways that do not often match the classical Islamic legal tradition to which they are trying to adhere," wrote Rabb.

But Lombardi points out that Iran is formally known as the Islamic Republic of Iran and "being Muslim is part of full citizenship in Iran." Though he couldn't speak for the Iranian justice system, he said there are two grounds for which Iran could give to put Nadarkhani to death for apostasy.

"One of them would be to say traditionally in Shiite Islam, people have interpreted the scripture for apostates to be put to death," Lombardi said. "The other one is that people who apostatize have committed a sin and they are real threat to the Muslim community and as a threat, they are punishable as someone who is a traitor to the country."

The website islawmix, a project through the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, was created to be an authoritarian voice on the nuances in Islamic law.
Made up of 13 scholars and founded by Rabb, along with Umbreen Bhatti and Kaizar Campwala, the website looks to connect "news readers, media producers, and legal scholars with credible, authoritative information about trends in Islamic law."

Bhatti, a practicing civil rights lawyer, said the nuances of Islamic law are not unique; the same sort of nuanced opinions are regularly found in American law.

"The reality is the 13 scholars on our sites could give you a variety of different responses," Bhatti said. Islamic law has a "rich legal tradition and it is important for us to not convey something definitive or to suggest there is one answer."

The overriding opinion of each scholar was simple - the complication of Islamic law makes it somewhat difficult to predict what Iran will do.

Lombardi recalled a story in Afghanistan, where a man's neighbors hauled him to court for leaving Islam.

"The judge takes a look and says this person is an apostate and therefore the crime should be putting them to death," Lombardi said. "But then the judge said, Islam is such great religion, you could have to be crazy to have to convert from Islam. And therefore, I think this person should get off on ground of insanity."

Moral of the story, according to Lombardi: "There are all sorts of grounds for pardoning someone."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Iran • Islam • Islamic law

soundoff (638 Responses)
  1. anonymous

    This reveal the truth -> http://Quran.com/5/51 "Don't make friend with Jews nor Christians" well Muhammed is not the mecca time prophet isn't ??

    A Muslim is the patient. Islamism is the disease. The overwhelming majority of Muslims contract the virus of Islamism at an early age when they are most vulnerable. Once this virus takes hold, it either completely destroys the individual’s cognitive immune system’s ability to reject the disease, or makes it most difficult for the person to see the pathology. That’s why the great majority of babies born to Muslim families remain Muslim for life. It is also a fact that a significant percentage of Muslims contract the virulent form of the belief, Islamism. Islamism is jihadist, intolerant of the “other”

    Lying and dissimulation is taqiyya, ordained and practiced by Muhammad, for use by Muslims only when dealing with infidels. Muslims have the patent and copyright on this shameful practice and the non-Muslims have no need for it. You use lies when you aim to deceive, when you are ashamed of something, or when you wish to distort things. Free people have no need for the abhorrent practice. The contents of the Quran that feed Islamism are the proof you need to present to Muslims.

    In short, we have a great country, troubled by numerous challenges.

    Look on Middle East, what is the greatest thing that they have for the world??

    it's only Terror!!
    it's only Womanize Slave!!
    it's only Hatred towards others!!

    And if they all are Islam, then "believe me" they will kill each others in the name of their own tribe!!! Because their mind is trained to not tolerant to "differences

    October 10, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Lisa

      Hey anonymous, I'm curious....do you attend church or a place of worship? I'm interested to know where you get your belief on Islam or the information (lack thereof actually) . We do have a great country, and we do have challenges. I am a God follower and have been as far back as I can remember. I study (not just read) my Bible regularly and attench church that follows expository teaching..... but guess what? I also date an Iranian that is well educated (PhD) and has been in this country 24 years and considers this his home. He is well spoken and we discuss MY Bible often. I am embarrassed to say more often than not, he has a solid contribution to our conversation as the events of Christ happened.....in his neck of the woods. He is not prejudice, pro Islan, anti Islam, a jihadist or a terrorist. By the way, do some research on your history before you start talking Iran and "Middle East" and also take some basic english & spelling lessons before you try to use big words.

      October 10, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
  2. Elis

    In the end, what really matters are the interpretations of Islam that are dominant in Muslim-majority societies. A bunch of Harvard academics pontificating (without the authority of a Pope) is meaningless.

    Also, its interesting how the article termed the diversity of views of Islamic law as "rich," and compared it to the rich variety of interpretations of American law. It is not "rich" to have a diversity that includes the view that putting someone to death for religious/spiritual beliefs is acceptable. That's called a gross injustice, and gross injustice isn't "rich." Bringing explicitly racist views, like those of neo-Nazis, into a sociology department would be "rich" according to these Harvard academics' use of the term.

    Also, the cursory way that the article quotes Lombardi at the end gives the impression that declaring someone insane is a tolerable outcome from Islamic law. It's not. The Soviet Union used that very technique to suppress dissent and destroy freedom, by declaring critics "insane" (see e.g. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,941730,00.html). In truth, that outcome is only marginally better than just executing an apostate; it's less evil, but certainly not tolerable, acceptable, let alone admirable.

    October 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  3. Yaqub

    The Ahmadiyyas are not recognized as orthodox Muslims by the rest of the Muslims. Obviously, they can't speak for the rest of the Muslims.

    The Sunnis and the Shiites are agreed upon Muhammad's example. Every Shar'ia Law I have come across does punish apostates.

    October 10, 2011 at 4:25 am |
  4. Central Scrutinizer

    My fellow Americans, until such time as an Atheist, an Agnostic, an openly ho-mose-xual person, or any other minority can be seriously considered for political office, particularly the presidency, then I hang my head in shame as an American. Sure, Obama is half black and that is a step. But where are the Asians, Africans, Mexicans, Gays, Atheists, Agnostics and all other minorities? Scr-ew the Christians! Let some intelligent folks move the country forward for a change. The Christian Right are liars, cheats, thieves and charlatans. The Dems just lie to fit in. Americans, let’s take back our country! The time is now! Call out the politicians on their lies. Call out the banks on their thievery. Take Wall Street money away from the politicians. Smart people in Congress, that should be our mantra, Carry on with common sense or we are doo-ed. It is up to us to remove them!

    October 10, 2011 at 1:50 am |
    • eyesopened

      central screwt I can understand your anger,and it is in our nature to want to find the answer. but it dosent come from discarding all the issues of mankind but to learn from them. so when you take your theory for all the smart people to lead this country out of this distructive order that were in, thats exactly how or why were in this mess to begin with. Here for instants money it was a smart person that thought of it,was he gay was he a mormon or a jew what about black did he not believe in God? the thing is whether smart or dumb whether cool or uncool whether murderer or just someone that hates his freind and vowed never to forgive them. We cant seem to get it through our heads that when we dont admit that we are apart of this thing called the world system we ourself are lieing to ourself and there for are screwt, we abandon our own chance to be apart of the solution,by defalt as we are silenced by our own self rightousness and hypocricy. Its not as easy as elect a smart bunch of people all though thats what they have been trying to do for years. the answer just might be the other way around. hire a regular working Joe that has realized the hard way that he was one of those type of people that all he did was complain all day long and judge others all day long, a guy that thought he was real smart smarter than them all that he didnt need anyone. That he didnt even need his nagging wife so he cheated on her, and the kids well thats was her fault, he had a good job living beyond his means just like almost the rest of his neighbors going to work to pay the bills. well turns out he lost his job and EVERYTHING that ment anything to him. realizing he even lost the one thing that got himself into trusting in this world system to begin with his pride. But Hes better off why? because he still has his health and he finds himself thanking God his Father in heaven for it. the regular joe now has something greater than all the answers for the world and the mess its in, He has Hope, but why is that? because he learned the truth and the funny thing it was right in his wallet, in his front pocket on the floor of his car between the cushions of his couch,he even stopped picking it up on the sidewalk if it were made of copper. Money my freinds money, we use it EVERYDAY there it is written on the money in God we trust. This regular joe chose to ask God for forgiveness for putting ALL his time energy and trust, his life to and in the world and it was then that he got it back. His freinds that he thought were his freinds ridiculed him and his family that he thought were fools excepted his apoligies and and hatered no longer had a place in his heart, only for the one responsilble for it all the one who set all the traps that he fell for the ruler of this world the same person who wants in God we trust removed from the face of money, this person he hates and everything hes about, satan. knowing this my freinds is the difference between smart and wisdom,between life and death. lets start voting to elect life for our leadership today that we may both know hope and see it. In the life of our loved ones today dont let the satan or the world steal that right from you!

      October 10, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • lalos

      C.S. Please see my reply to your question, "How does this apply to me?"

      But Jesus Himself says in John chapter 14 verse 6, "No one can come to the Father but by Me". So according to Jesus anyone who wants a relationship with God must go through Him. The apostle Paul tell us in Romans Chapter 10 verse 9, "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved". Saved from What? the penalty of our own sins, which is eternal separation from God, Hell.

      C.S. it applies to you since you like everyone else in this world sins. See the 10 Commandments for examples. God does not want to punish us for our sins so he sent Jesus to pay the penalty for them. All you have to do is sincerely talk with God. Tell Him that you accept the payment Jesus made for your sins. Tell Him that you accept Jesus as your Lord. Do this believing that God raised Jesus from the dead as evidence that He had the authority to pay for our sins.
      I hope this takes the A out of agnostic for you.

      October 10, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  5. Muneef

    The Arab house of Islam
    Most people are probably descended from the Prophet Muhammad anyway

    If we accept the argument above that, even if the exact lines aren't known, most of the prominent families of Islam would have soon ended up descended from the Prophet, then most of modern Islam would descend from the Prophet.
    And only a tiny amount of intermarriage with Christians and Jews in medieval Spain would yield the result that, even if all the descents above are false, quite likely almost every Muslim, almost every Jew, and almost everyone in the West today is descended from the Prophet.
    Simply put, if anyone at Muhammad's time left a reasonable number of descendants, they are probably the ancestor of most of the West today, even if no specific descent can be proved. See full discussion on Common ancestors of all humans.
    Check link for the argument;

    October 9, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • Muneef

      Quite likely almost every Jew in the world today descends from the Prophet Muhammad, c. 600 AD.
      By the same logic, there were Jews in medieval Spain, and it's hard to see them staying separate from the gradual descent of all of Muslim and Christian Spain from the Prophet. Again, all we need is a tiny amount of interbreeding for this to happen. And later the Jews of Spain were expelled, and are probably hence the ancestors of much or most of the world's Jews today.

      It is interesting to think that every Palestinian suicide bombing attack on Israel is almost certainly some descendants of the Prophet killing other descendants of the Prophet.
      Check link for more;

      October 9, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • Reality

      The House of Islam:

      Some of its parts:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

      October 9, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • .........

      plz hit report abuse on any reality repeated blogs

      October 10, 2011 at 4:53 am |
    • Muneef

      Images of the full Arabian family Tree from time of "Noah" down to Muhammed s.a.w;

      Unfortunately couldn't find equivalent in English...
      As Arab Decedents our ancestors have passed through all beliefs as Pagan,Jews,Christians and Muslims. The Arabian Roots go back to Noah's time...as per the images at the link;


      October 10, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Reality

      Muneef, Muneef, Muneef,

      Some 21st century information:

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      "These essays, perused during uninspired sermons or Torah readings at Sabbath services, will no doubt surprise many congregants. For instance, an essay on Ancient Near Eastern Mythology," by Robert Wexler, president of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, states that on the basis of modern scholarship, it seems unlikely that the story of Genesis originated in Palestine. More likely, Mr. Wexler says, it arose in Mesopotamia, the influence of which is most apparent in the story of the Flood, which probably grew out of the periodic overflowing of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The story of Noah, Mr. Wexler adds, was probably borrowed from the Mesopotamian epic Gilgamesh. "

      October 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • .........

      plz hit report abuse on all reality repeat nonsense

      October 10, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
  6. Ray of Sunshine

    Why would Christians even care if this man is executed? In your disillusionment the Iranians are sending this pastor to his heavenly father and Jesus to have his day in court I guess somewhere in space, where ever heaven is supposed to be I'm guessing. Maybe in your subconscious you realize the bible is a crock.

    October 9, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  7. Old Testament

    In the Old Testament Law, people who were considered a threat to the tribe were put to be put to death to avoid them from affecting and influencing others in the tribe from doing the same. This is Biblical in its basis, grounded in Old Testament Jewish Law, that occurred long before Mohammed lived.

    October 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • mattan4486

      true, but that was thousands of years ago. the people of the old testament today, the Jewish people, don't even have the death penalty in the nation of Israel. The only person to get the death penalty was adolph eichmann. only in countries that have the koran as their law do you find people acting so backwards and want to execute a pastor.

      October 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  8. Nomination

    I'm waiting for the day we nominate a Muslim to be Secretary of State.

    October 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Wiggles

      Don't hold your breath, you filthy foreigner

      October 10, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  9. becool

    There's nothing in Islam that teaches freedom, Mohamed said that Allah ordered him to kill people till they believe in his reglion... This is an assured doctrine! So, they don't need to try to tell us otherwise!!!!! Mohammed and his followers cannot understand what freedom means! This is a nomadic religion that became a plague in the Middle East...

    October 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  10. Abdul Aziz

    Of course all sunni madhabs command that a person that leaves Islam should be killed. It is based on Muhammad's own words and actions. See for example Sahih al Bukhari: "Whoever changes his religion, kill them" (Mohammed)

    October 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  11. Rainer Braendlein

    The Eastern Antichrist (Muhammad or the Caliphs) and the Western Antichrist (the popes)

    A big part of history is the history of the wars between the Eastern and the Western Antichrist.

    Muhammad caused the Muslim conquests, which were heavy crimes, because the Muslims raided guiltless Christian countries.

    The popes organized the crusades. They presumed earthly power, which is not allowed to be exercised by a Christian bishop, but solely by the worldly authority. The popes exceeded theirs authority infinitely. That was a crime and caused a lot of sorrow for the mankind.

    Two apocalyptic monsters: The Islam and papacy.

    When at last do we get able to condemn the Islamic doctrine? Do we still live in the dark age? Do we not want to overcome the dark age?

    Two plagues have tortured the mankind for centuries: The Islam and the papacy. Both the Islamic doctrine and the doctrine of papacy belong to the dark age (Middle Ages, 600 a. D. till 1500 a. D.).

    What made life so unpleasant during the dark age?

    Answer: The impact of papacy and Islam. Both are founded by the devil himself.

    Beginning with Emperor Constantine the civilized world (Roman Empire) became Christian, that means beginning with Constantine Christianity was protetected by the state and the most acknowledged religion of the Romans (equal to today Westerners). Constantine lived around 300 a. D.. Until 600 a. D. the Christian Church in the Roman Empire did not know any papacy and was autonomic (state and church were friends, but ruled two different realms, independent from each other).

    602 a. D. one of the greatest calamities of history occured: The wicked criminal Phocas became (Eastern) Roman Emperor. He didn't rule according to the Christian tradition of his predecessors, but was a very cruel godless ruler and committed a lot of crimes. The actually Christian Eastern Roman Empire was ruled by an anti-Christian tyrant (that is equal to Hitler's rule over the actually Christian Germany) for 8 years (from 602 to 610).

    Phocas' armies probably committed a lot of crimes in Near East (Syria, Palestine, Arabia). At this time Muhammad lived in Arabia. He has surely heard of the crimes of the Roman armies (whereby it is nearly sure that in Muhammad's eyes a Roman was a Christian and a Christian was a Roman). Thus, Muhammad got a very bad perception of Western Christianity and started to invent a new religion, called Islam (the Koran sees Christianity as a degenerated faith, which had corrupted the genuine faith of Abraham, which was Islam in Muhammad's eyes. Thus, Muhammad felt obliged to bring back mankind to the Religion of Truth or Islam). Of course, Muhammad made a big mistake, because the reason for the bad behaviour of the Romans or Westerners was not Christianity, but their disbelief (many Romans were baptized, but did not follow Jesus in daily life). Muhammad condemned the only religion, which can improve human lifes: Christianity.

    Furthermore Phocas established papacy: He made the Roman See the hightest on earth, which was a heavy crime, because God wants all sees to be equal. By this crime the Holy Spirit or God himself was displaced from the Roman Catholic Church and she corrupted totally, because she had no more divine teacher (the Spirit). The ridiculous pope became the "teacher" (better seducer) of the Roman Catholic Church. By the popes mislead the RCC has become a P I S S P O T of heresies and is guilty of the spiritual death of billions of people.

    Thus, Islam and papacy are the consequences of the crimes of one of the worst tyrants of history.

    How long do we still want to get fooled by the wicked Phocas (the devil incarnate)?

    It is high time to abolish Islam and papacy together.

    Of course our secularism is no substi-tute, but true Christianity. It is highly probably that the true God sent papacy and Islam as a judgement on the mankind, because we didn't want to accept true Christianity.

    The only way to get rid of Islam and papacy is it to believe in the true gospel, then God will stop his judgement.

    The gospel of Jesus Christ: Jesus has borne our sins on the cross. Believe it and get baptized (infant baptism is valid and mustn't be repeated; just refer to your infant baptism). At baptism the power of Jesus death and resurrection is dedicated to us. Our old man of sin dies together with Jesus and we resurrect together with Jesus (these are spiritual realities). By Jesus' divine power we can start a life in righteousness: Loving God and our neighbours. Details of Christian life we find in the Sermon on the Mount (Gospel of Matthew 5-7).

    Read the book "The Cost of Discipleship" by Dr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which is an interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount and much more.

    October 9, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  12. Prayers

    We Pray for you Pastor! God Almighty is with you!

    October 9, 2011 at 7:46 am |
    • kimsland

      Never heard of a prayer that ever helped anyone.

      Do us all a favor stop praying and maybe help this guy by getting him mental health care.
      At least then he might get over this illness some label religion (I call it ridiculous)

      October 9, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • slantyshanty

      @ kimsland
      I realize that religion itself is a form of control, but don't underestamate the power of prayer, or our own thoughts as its better put. Look it up, its cool stuff.

      October 9, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • PRISM 123

      "Never heard of a prayer that ever helped anyone"
      It depends on to whom you pray, and it depends on the condition of you own heart!
      There is so much ignorance in about the things of spiritual nature....Just because you don't understand, it does NOT mean that is not real. Many of us KNOW God is real!

      October 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @PRISM 123

      You might BELIEVE your imaginary friend exists, but you do *not* KNOW it! If you have definitive proof and can show it to us, you would make history as being the very first one to accomplish that. Please proceed!

      October 9, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Blast Off

      Notice that PRISM 123 has lost her "4". I guess that means that this is the final countdown 3,2,1 ?! Oooga, Boooga!

      October 9, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • PRISM 123

      @ hot air
      Your proof will come, but it's not mine to give to you, and you won't get one by demanding one..
      GOD is the Lord. He makes the rules, and you are not exempt of them! That's how it goes.
      Here it is in Christ's own words... "An evil and wicked generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it ...." except what was already given when HE was born, died and rose again, fulfilling the words of the prophets .... Because if this evil generation did not believe them, they will not believe even if He would come again to do it over again.
      But when He returns, the NEXT time, as the Word of God states, He will not come as a suffering servant, but as the King of kings and Lord of lords, and the Judge the living and the dead!
      And blessed are those who humbled their hearts before Him, acknowledging their own poverty, and need for His righteousness....
      But where will the rebel and ungodly be found in that Day?
      There is no voting on this one, dear soul... no opt out, no different route.... You'll have your proof.
      Those of us who listened, and did not stiffen our necks, and shut our hearts HAVE our proof, and we KNOW now. But you will know THEN!
      This is the wisdom of our God, who searches the hearts, and gives to every (hu)man according what He finds in it!
      Good evening to all!

      October 9, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      So to summarize, you think you know but you do not actually know. Enjoy your fairy tales!

      October 9, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Believer

      @Prism-Summed up very well!

      October 9, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
  13. frank keefe

    and they claim Islam is a peaceful religion..stoning..public hangings.. beheadings and torture..yeah so peaceful

    October 9, 2011 at 6:55 am |
  14. Reality

    Islam will slowly fade from society as will contemporary Christianity and Mormonism because of the obvious problems with the founders of these religions especially their angelic/satanic hallucinations and related prophecies. "Pretty and ugly wingie and horn-blowing thingies" simply do/did not exist.

    October 8, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • hippypoet

      i will not argue your ideas of religion at this time as drunk as i am currently...but i will say that i feel islam growing, see my evidence for such thoughts are founded in logic... quick explain – christianity is gaining a following of more and more fundelmentalists, which i can see as a fault in teaching the true bible, not that i believe the holy book of crap to pertain to anything truthful... so the more fundelmentalist christians there are , logically speaking, there will be equal islamics doing the same. but as a whole i think islam shows more faith then christians do, and therefore will gain a larger following and keep getting larger. but these are just my thoughts, while drunk mind you. very very drunk!

      October 9, 2011 at 12:17 am |
    • .........

      plz hit report abuse on all reality garbage

      October 9, 2011 at 6:15 am |
    • frank keefe

      and in its place atheism lol Stalin Hitler Polpot Lenin over 100 million slaughtered.Thanks but no thanks.If the world followed the precepts of Jesus this would be a peaceful loving world

      October 9, 2011 at 6:58 am |
    • .........

      given the opportunity hit report abuse to all reality garbage

      October 9, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Reality

      The Twenty (or so) Worst Things People Have Done to Each Other:
      M. White, http://necrometrics.com/warstatz.htm#u (required reading)

      The Muslim Conquest of India

      "The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      Rank …..Death Toll ..Cause …..Centuries……..Religions/Groups involved*

      1. 63 million Second World War 20C (Christians et al and Communists/atheists vs. Christians et al, Nazi-Pagan and "Shintoists")

      2. 40 million Mao Zedong (mostly famine) 20C (Communism)

      3. 40 million Genghis Khan 13C (Shamanism or Tengriism)

      4. 27 million British India (mostly famine) 19C (Anglican)

      5. 25 million Fall of the Ming Dynasty 17C (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Chinese folk religion)

      6. 20 million Taiping Rebellion 19C ( Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion vs. a form of Christianity)

      7. 20 million Joseph Stalin 20C (Communism)

      8. 19 million Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C (Islam)

      9. 17 million Timur Lenk 14C-15C

      10. 16 million Atlantic Slave Trade 15C-19C (Christianity)

      11. 15 million First World War 20C (Christians vs. Christians)

      12. 15 million Conquest of the Americas 15C-19C (Christians vs. Pagans)

      13. 13 million Muslim Conquest of India 11C-18C

      14. 10 million An Lushan Revolt 8C

      15. 10 million Xin Dynasty 1C

      16. 9 million Russian Civil War 20C (Christians vs Communists)

      17. 8 million Fall of Rome 5C (Pagans vs. Pagans)

      18. 8 million Congo Free State 19C-20C (Christians)

      19. 7½ million Thirty Years War 17C (Christians vs Christians)

      20. 7½ million Fall of the Yuan Dynasty 14C

      *:" Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

      A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion."

      Q: So, what you're saying is that religion has never killed anyone.

      A: Arrgh... You all-or-nothing people drive me crazy. There are many doc-umented examples where members of one religion try to exterminate the members of another religion. Causation is always complex, but if the only difference between two warring groups is religion, then that certainly sounds like a religious conflict to me. Is it the number one cause of mass homicide in human history? No. Of the 22 worst episodes of mass killing, maybe four were primarily religious. Is that a lot? Well, it's more than the number of wars fought over soccer, or s-ex (The Trojan and Sabine Wars don't even make the list.), but less than the number fought over land, money, glory or prestige.

      In my Index, I list 41 religious conflicts compared with 27 oppressions under "Communism", 24 under Colonialism, 2 under "Railroads" and 2 under "Scapegoats". Make of that what you will."

      October 9, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
  15. hugh carlyle

    tThese articles are embarassing....instead of trying to interpret these lunatic "books of god" lets examine the books themselves...they are frauds. ALL OF THEM. So lets not try and decipher what Mohammed said or didn't......lets look at the fact that his account is highly unbelievable and the Quran and Hadith written hundreds of years after the Bible....contain whole sections copied out of the Old Testament....this is a copied and borrowed religion...based on another which is itself not believable........so there you have it.

    Fact: the penalty for apostasy in Islam is death......

    imagine..you leave the nice club...and you die....what a club 🙂

    October 8, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  16. Chileno

    Oh, a man is about to be KILLED simply for his religious convictions, and CNN posts an article talking about how "nuanced" Islamic law is??? This is beyond disgusting.

    October 8, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • frank keefe

      Chileno why are you surprised that a left wing atheistic channel like CNN would say such a thing.They dislike Christianity and Israel and lean more to Islam because Arabs and the PA believe in it.

      October 9, 2011 at 7:01 am |
    • Jimtanker

      Guess he shouldnt have chosen to be christian in a country that will put you to death for proselytizing christianity huh?

      October 9, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • On The Mark

      The article needs to share with us some ways people are calling upon Iran to stop this and then give us how we can participate in it.

      October 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  17. mrbill

    Love that word "Nuance" of Islam. The writer things killing someone is a "nuance" of this evil Islamofascist political system disguised as religion. As this writer is apparently also disguised as a writer.

    October 8, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • you're an idiot

      need i say more?

      October 8, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  18. T

    The world would look a lot differently if religion were taught to children after the age of reason.

    October 8, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • hippypoet

      how about – the world would be a better place if religion was never taught! if the teachings of something places value on certain people and takes value away from another then it should not be taught. The idea that all major religions believe they are the chosen people creates problems. done!

      October 8, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • frank keefe

      this sounds like something Stalin would say..you know the one who massacred his own people in their millions

      October 9, 2011 at 7:03 am |
  19. H. B.

    There may be those who have differing opinions on the "nuances" of Islamic law, but most Muslims accept the Quran as the word of Allah – BUT, where Muhammad violated any of those things, his actions had rendered the Quranic texts null and void. The reason for this is because Muhammad is regarded as "the perfect Muslim," and all Muslims must strive fiercely to emulate him in every way. He is their unqualified role model. They are directed, by the Quran, to do so.

    The quote in the article about "there shall be no compulsion in religion" is dead as a doornail, because when Muhammad forced his own first conversion, the text was rendered totally MOOT. Muslims often lie to us and quote that phrase to deflect our questions about whether forced conversions are acceptable in Islam. And we, fools that we are, believe them. But Muslims are SUPPOSED to lie to us. Any who gave that quote did so knowing full well that it had no more force in Islam. And Muslims have been forcing conversions in the 1400 years between then and now. It's done all the time.

    For Muslims – even scholars – to claim that that text in the Quran applies to Muslims today is to say that Muhammad was NOT a perfect Muslim, and therefore should NOT be a role model.

    They can't have it both ways.

    If a person who changes from Islam to Christianity is a "threat" to the community of Islam, i.e., to the nation itself, and therefore is treason, what are people who live there and have never been Muslims? Isn't the threat they pose to the community of Iran precisely the same? Shouldn't they all be killed as traitors? Of course, they ARE heavily persecuted, but I haven't heard of any B'hai's, for example, being executed for being non-Muslims.

    A genuine religion would not have ANY texts which could be interpreted to mean that failing to believe, or quitting the faith, should be punishable by anyone other than god. Islam isn't the only faith that tries to impose such penalties, but it is the worst of them all that way. Christianity long ago abandoned such things, having learned some powerful lessons from the Inquisition. Islam is determined to stage its OWN Inquisition, obviously. It is a method of trying to hold onto their "believers." If the beauty and wisdom of the faith isn't good enough to hold onto them, force is an acceptable alternative.

    A real god wouldn't give two puffs of comet gas what anyone believes. Nor would he have an ego, one that needs to be basted constantly with worship and praise. The very existence of these attributes in ANYONE'S god is proof that the belief system is human-made.

    This is why ALL religions seek to control governments. Once in power, once the law can be made to serve their own ideas of right and wrong, they can then begin draconian measures against those who want no part of their religion.

    It was THIS knowledge that made our founding fathers draw a line between Church and State. Even with that, though, we have religions in our OWN lands which want political power, in order to establish theocracy in the U.S. Goodbye democracy.

    Religious rights are necessary, because people WILL HAVE their guy in the sky. It can't be forced out of them. But all of them are dragons. Some are sleeping and genuinely seem to be benign, while others rant and rave. The bottom line for all of them is the same: political domination.

    One reason I've switched my home page from CNN is that it caters to the religious – far more than is justifiable. There IS no section of CNN called "Science." Just a few science articles under "Technology." I'm using the BBC now, which is very rich in science materials, but also because I don't see that it supports the kind of "political correctness" that is rampant in our own media. The propaganda in our media is blatant and shames the very concept of freedom of the press.

    October 8, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Keith

      There is no perfect human. We all urinate and defecate because we have to. What separates us from the animal kingdom is that we can't survive without telling stories. And thus began the power struggle to control: My story vs your story and who can I impose it on.
      We are flawed. Jesus admitted his sin. Moses admitted his. Buddha tasted the sweet treats of life before finding something better. Muslims are in denial that Mohammed was a flawed human. Theirs is a religion trapped in a box not open to enlightenment.
      And now the rest of us are subjected to this barbaric cult because they now live amongst us. Pity.

      October 9, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  20. hippypoet

    ok, i'll be quick. anyone who has argued against this guy being put to death is missing a key FACT in the matter – he broke laws pertaining to religious beliefs,the punishment is death . get over it, our country has so called freedom of religion, they do not. If your still confused i can say it much simpler – different country, therefore different rules. The idea that the U.N. has forbidden such things is completely bs, i mean yes they have created laws against such treatment of humans, but the U.N. doesn't govern all, its more a international crime fighting force that answers only to itself, which is bad and the leaders of the U.N are all so called christian nations, france, u.s., england, germany, china...see a problem here, nothing like a little baised law making, as if thats anything new

    October 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • hippypoet

      I am in no way saying that killing is right, but he broke the law of the land and that laws punishment is death – he made a choice and now must die for it. He should be happy, its nearing the moment of judgement by st. peter!! 🙂

      October 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • John Richardson

      OK, hippy. You aren't saying the killing is right. Others, including me, are saying it is wrong and THEREFORE shouldn't happen. It's not the first gross miscarriage of justice, won't be the last and isn't even the only one happening before our eyes today, let alone the only one happening at all (most never get any publicity and very few get anywhere near this much). But this article is about this guy and this case. So it's as simple as can be. It is wrong and therefore should not happen.

      October 8, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • hippypoet

      look here mr. richard... he broke the law of the country he lives in, THEREFORE should've known better – and because he broke the laws KNOWINGLY, he SHOULD adhere to said laws. let him die, afterall, this is what he knew would happen.

      October 8, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • John Richardson

      So the rights of government to pass laws are absolute and the rights of people to live under just laws are non-existent?

      October 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • hippypoet

      the peoples rights are given to them by said government. the idea that as a race we are born with certain rights is illogical. we are born without anyknowledge of anything, we are taught everything by either absorbing the info via sight or by being taught directly thru speech. We as humans pretty much rule the planet and so if the laws of one land are (by the individual) unjust, then move out. He chose to stay and CHOSE to live under said laws. The way laws are formed are different in every country but these laws have been the same for a VERY VERY long time. He knew what he was doing by preaching against the religion of the nation. Justice and right/wrong have little to do with eachother.

      October 8, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • Mr Chihuahua

      Oh no mister, humans don't rule the planet! Chihuahuas do! Give me a cheeseburger, puny human! lol!

      October 8, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • hippypoet

      @Mr Chihuahua... you make me sad. here, two people are having a proper debate and some moron(you) shows up to make non sense the topic. i personally can't stand chihuahuas... i call them rat dogs, and wonder how they taste! I would, if totally given the chance, eat one...providing it was already cooked.

      October 8, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • Mr Chihuahua

      Your posts show a clarity of vision on ethics and jurisprudence comparable to that of a common fruit fly! Give me a cheeseburger, puny human lol!

      October 8, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Chileno

      OK, so if your nation were to pass a law today saying that all those named "Hyppypoet" must die, then it'd be OK for them to kill you, right? Also then, the only reason why the Holocaust was not correct was because the German Reichstag never actually passed a law saying all Jews should die -'cause if they'd done that, then it would have been OK to kill them, 'cause they'd be breaking the law, right? You are using a silly technicality to justify, and thus condone, an unconscionable act. Iran is a member of the UN, and as such should be expected to respect the most basic of human rights, which includes freedom of religion.

      October 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • Chileno

      And BTW, when you say, "the peoples rights are given to them by said government," you are describing a tyranny. In a democracy (which Iran alleges to be, despite it's parallel theocracy), the people choose the government, and so it is the people who confer the rights on the government. The most basic, fundamental of duties of any so-called democratic government is to protect its citizens, here again, the Iranian government has failed.

      October 8, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • hippypoet

      @Chileno, first i'd like to thank you for getting back on topic. As far as my name, if my government were to try to pass a law against my name, i'd leave the country. But as i know my country to be, the U.S., most anyone who votes would vote against it, so i'm safe. Now, as far as Iran, if they are a democracy, and more then half its citizens are islamic i can see how a law against other beliefs would pass. But, this law has been in its place for as long as Iran has viewed Muhammad to be islams prophet. You are correct in saying that a democarcy is a government by its people and therefore should protect its citizens,but it is by killing this man who preaches against the national religion and therefore is protecting the national ident!ty. Theocracy doesn't state it can't be a democracy, however in democracy where the majority of its citizens are islamic, the vote for anything but islam as a national religion would fall short. Now you are looking at this in a strickly straight view, look at the perspective of the Iranian people, if the government doesn't kill this man as it states in the Qurran then the government isn't doing what its citizens KNOW to be right. You argue (basic) human rights... that doesn't exist, anyone who is born under a government who is part of the U.N. is supposed to adhere to such things, however that is tryanny. So the Iranians doing what THEY know to be right is infact right by them, and was known by the man preaching...so he broke a law knowingly, and willfully, and so i say let him die the death he has been waiting for!

      October 8, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • frank keefe

      obviously a man who should have been born in the barbaric middle ages you would have fitted that era perfectly.

      October 9, 2011 at 7:05 am |
    • John Richardson

      Rights come from the governments? So those who seek to change governments because the current one tramples their rights should just lie down for the tanks to roll over them?

      October 9, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • :)

      your not a hippy and your not verrrry poetic either. I think a law should be implemented saying that hippypoet has to change his name. Lol

      October 9, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • hippypoet

      @John Richardson you miss my meaning – if the government has had the same laws for near 1000 years and the majority of its citizens have always followed it then why should guy get a pass. He had the choice to leave or die, HE CHOOSE DEATH! Now as far as a real tyannical government that just creates laws then hangs them so high its impossible to read had me against the ropes for a law i didn't know i broke, i would first ask to see said law, then ask if i was able to leave the country due to crimes against the state.

      @frank keefe
      you said-
      "obviously a man who should have been born in the barbaric middle ages you would have fitted that era perfectly."

      thats about right. 🙂 but i would have preferred the time of the Buddhas life, the first Buddha i should say. The Hindu prince who was hidden away so not to see any dieing or sick, once while walking thru his kingdom he came upon a sick old man, and he didn't know what to make of it. From that we have the belief system of Buddhism, my personal favorite. OR at around the same time in history Zoroastrianism is starting off, also i like this because its the birth of one god as a ultimate power for good and one for bad. But tell that to a christian, the truth is painful when your belief tells you all things pagan are evil then you find out that all your beliefs come from a pagan one! HA thats funny and i would have liked to learn from the Zoro himself!

      who ever is 🙂 is clearly a sad little creature who can't pose a proper arguement so instead falls to insults...sad!

      October 9, 2011 at 10:58 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.