In Commentary, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross discusses the plight of Muslims who convert to Christianity:
|In fact, thousands of Muslims in the West embrace Christianity each year, and the courage they must muster to do so is of an entirely different order from the bravado of someone protesting against supposedly pervasive social prejudice. These converts stand accused, rather, of apostasy, a transgression against Islam whose consequences, even in the sheltering confines of the West, are always serious-and sometimes deadly.|
In the Islamic world, there is a broad consensus, both popular and scholarly, that apostates deserve to be killed. A rich theological and intellectual tradition, stretching as far back as Muhammad and his companions, supports this position. Though official proceedings against those who reject Islam are fairly rare -- in part, no doubt, because most keep their conversion a closely held secret -- apostasy is punishable by death in Afghanistan, Comoros, Iran, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen.1 It is also illegal in Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, the Maldives, Oman, and Qatar.
The greatest threat to apostates in the Muslim world derives not from the state, however, but from private individuals who take punishment into their own hands. In Bangladesh, for example, a native-born Muslim-turned-Christian evangelist was stabbed to death in the spring of 2003 while returning home from a film version of the Gospel of Luke. As another Bangladeshi apostate told the U.S. Newswire, "If a Muslim converts to Christianity, now he cannot live in this country. It is not safe. The fundamentalism is increasing more and more."
This trend is not confined to the traditionally Muslim countries. In the Times Online, Anthony Browne describes what happens to British Muslims who dare to convert to Christianity:
|While those who convert to Islam, such as Cat Stevens, Jemima Khan, and the sons of the Frank Dobson, the former Health Secretary, and Lord Birt, the former BBC Director-General, can publicly celebrate their new religion, those whose faith goes in the other direction face persecution. Mr Hussein, a 39-year-old hospital nurse in Bradford, is one of a growing number of former Muslims in Britain who face not just being shunned by family and community, but attacked, kidnapped, and in some cases killed. There is even a secret underground network to support and protect those who leave Islam. One estimate suggests that as many as 15 per cent of Muslims in Western societies have lost their faith, which would mean that in Britain there are about 200,000 apostates.|
There was a time when Christianity exhibited a similar intolerance towards apostates, when those who rejected the Christian faith risked torture and death. But such conditions are now several centuries in the past. The worst an apostate Christian faces today in most places is ostracism and being disowned by his family; Muslims, however, are doomed to live in the Middle Ages.
Consider the process from the point of view of Islamist Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad. This is an excerpt from an interview he gave in Britain:
|Q: What would be the rights of Christians in a restored Caliphate?|
A: As citizens, in terms of welfare and security, education, etc., they will be equal. They will be exempt from national service, although they can volunteer. They will pay the Jizya poll-tax for security and signifying that they submit to Islamic law, except if they join the army. This need not be levied with humiliation. Nor is it levied on women, children, clergy, elderly, etc., only on mature, working males.
No private schools will be allowed, and there will be an Islamically influenced national curriculum. No new churches will be permitted, but existing ones will be allowed. Private consumption of alcohol will be permitted, but not its public sale. All state officials must be Muslims, save for the Caliph's assistants to advise him about relations with non-Muslim citizens. Muslims could not convert to Christianity on pain of execution. [emphasis added]
Since Islam aggressively proselytizes, this one-way valve of conversion ushers new believers into the Ummah while ruthlessly preventing their escape from it. If one adds to this process the demographic advantage which Muslim nations currently enjoy, one would expect the Ummah to expand. In the West, Islam is spreading fairly rapidly, notably through the prison system, where Saudi-funded chaplains find a susceptible population of idle young men. Given the virulent strain of Wahabbism being promoted, it is not surprising that Islam should find such success among those prone to violence.
There are no reliable statistics on the growth of Islam in the West, either by conversion or migration. Indeed, some European countries refuse to collect such statistics, preferring instead to avert their eyes from the growing menace within their borders.
If the efforts of the faithful against the apostates are successful, and the number of conversions into Islam exceeds the number of conversions out of it, all of our JDAMs and armies and elections and alliances are of no use; the victory of the jihadis is assured.