This popular post was originally published February 6, 2011.
The New York Times continues to operate in a delusional bubble. In an article last Friday about the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, entitled “Islamist Group Is Poised to Be a Power in Egypt, but Its Intentions Are Unclear,” the reporter Scott Shane actually compared the Muslim Brotherhood to today’s Catholic Church:
As the Roman Catholic Church includes both those who practice leftist liberation theology and conservative anti-abortion advocates, so the Brotherhood includes both practical reformers and firebrand ideologues.
The comparison might have made sense five or six hundred years ago when the Catholic Church and the state were intertwined and the Church ordered heretics to be burnt at the stake. But, in case the Times hasn’t noticed, the Church has moved on since then while Islamic sharia law, on which the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology is based, has not.
For example, plenty of Catholics have renounced their faith or committed heresy in recent centuries without the Roman Catholic Church arranging, in league with the state, for them to be put to death or jailed. The Church frowns on marital infidelity but nobody in recent times has been put to death for that sin at the urging of the Church.
What should happen today to a Muslim apostate or adulterer, according to the spiritual inspiration of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi?
All Muslim jurists agree that the apostate is to be punished. However, they differ regarding the punishment itself. The majority of them go for killing; meaning that an apostate is to be sentenced to death. Many authentic Hadiths have been reported in this regard. Ibn `Abbas reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever changes his religion, you kill him.” There is also the Hadith of Ibn Mas`ud that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The blood of a Muslim individual who bears witness that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah, is not to be shed except in three cases: in retaliation (in murder crimes), married adulterers (and adulteresses), and the one who abandons his religion and forsakes the Muslim community.
The Times harbors a particular hostility against the Catholic Church because it promotes views on abortion, homosexuality and other social issues with which the Times strongly disagrees.