Muslim Pledge for Religious Freedom and Safety from Harm for Former Muslims
The Muslim Pledge for Religious Freedom and Safety from Harm for Former Muslims was created by Former Muslims United (FMU), a civil rights organization formed in September 2009 by a group of American apostates from Islam. It asks American Muslim leaders and Muslims in a position of responsibility in federal, state or local government to honor the religious freedom and safety of former Muslims by rejecting Islamic laws pertaining to physically harming or killing those who leave Islam.
The Freedom Pledge, along with a covering letter, was sent to 125 leaders of Muslim organizations on September 25, 2009, and again to 234 Muslims in positions of responsibility in government and private organizations on July 4, 2012. To date, only two Muslims have signed the pledge: Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and Dr. Ali Alyami of the Center for Democracy & Human Rights in Saudi Arabia. Prominent individuals such as Dalia Mogahed have been criticized for not showing support for the pledge.
2012 Cover Letter
July 4, 2012
Dear Muslim Leader,
We are all aware of incidents of intimidation, threats of violence, assaults, imprisonment, and murder against former Muslims here and abroad because they left Islam. We call on you, as a Muslim leader or as a Muslim in a position of responsibility in federal, state or local government here in the U.S., to repudiate the threat from authoritative Shariah to the religious freedom and safety of former Muslims. As leaders of Former Muslims United, we ask you to sign the enclosed “Muslim Pledge for Religious Freedom and Safety from Harm for Former Muslims,” known as the Freedom Pledge. We reach out to you with a sincere hope that you will sign the pledge to show your support for ensuring peace, justice, safety, and freedom for Muslims and former Muslims alike.
We sent the Freedom Pledge to 125 leaders of Muslim organizations in America almost three years ago, on September 25, 2009. On that date in 1789, the U.S. Congress passed the Bill of Rights. This was a fitting date to put our pledge to the world, for the first of those rights guarantees religious freedom, which includes the right to leave Islam, to change our religion from Islam to another religion, and to express unbelief in Islam.
As our Declaration of Independence states, these rights are unalienable, and among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For former Muslims, who throughout history have lost their liberties and often their lives when they left Islam, America’s Declaration of Independence, signed on July 4, 1776, has special significance. Therefore, we are sending out the Freedom Pledge again this year, starting on July 4, 2012, to over 200 Muslims in positions of responsibility in government and private organizations. In the spirit of 1776, we extend to you the opportunity to repudiate the Shariah doctrines against people who leave Islam.
In 2009, only two people signed the pledge: Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and Dr. Ali Alyami of the Center for Democracy & Human Rights in Saudi Arabia. Let us hope that this year all American Muslim leaders, especially those chosen by our elected officials as advisers, will join them.
As leaders of Former Muslims United, we have pledged our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to achieve for former Muslims their unalienable rights. We urge you, as a Muslim leader, to support our claim to these rights by signing the enclosed Freedom Pledge.
Please sign the pledge and encourage others in your organization to do so, as well. Our request is simple. We look forward to your timely response within two weeks. The need is urgent.
All four schools of Sunni Islamic law (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali), as well as the other main schools of Shia Islamic law (al- Ismāʿīliyyūn and Ithnāʿashariyya), unanimously agree that a former Muslim male, also known as an apostate, must be executed. While some hold that an apostate woman should also be executed, the Encyclopedia of Islamic Law: A Compendium of the Major Schools, adapted by Laleh Bakhtiar, states that she should be imprisoned or beaten five times a day until she repents or dies. These specific world-renowned Islamic legal authorities join in this consensus:
- • Head of the Fatawa Council of Al-Azhr, ABDULLAH AL-MISHADD, Al-Azhar University, the pre-eminent Shariah legal authority, fatwa issued 23rd September 1978: “This man has committed apostasy; he must be given a chance to repent and if he does not then he must be killed according to Shariah. As far as his children are concerned, as long as they are children they are considered Muslim, but after they reach the age of puberty, then if they remain with Islam they are Muslim, but if they leave Islam and they do not repent they must be killed…”*
- • MUFTI OF LEBANON, Beirut, Fatwa issued 13 November 1989: “Now, should the apostate (male or female) persist in his apostasy, he should be given the opportunity to repent, prior to his being put to death, out of respect for his Islam. A misunderstanding on his part may have taken place, and there would thus be an opportunity to rectify it. Often apostasy takes place on account of an offer (of inducement). So Islam must be presented to the apostate, things should be clarified, and his sin made manifest. He should be imprisoned for three days, so that he may have the opportunity to reflect upon his situation. This three-day period has been deemed adequate. But if the man or the woman has not repented of his or her raddah, but has continued to persist in it, then he or she should be put to death…”*
- • IBN RUSHD (AVERROES), The Distinguished Jurist’s Primer, “Chapter on the Hukm of the Murtadd (Apostate),” Volume II, page 552, Section 56.10: “An apostate, if taken captive before he declares war, is to be executed by agreement in the case of a man, because of the words of the Prophet (God’s peace and blessings be upon him), “Slay those who change their din: They disagreed about the execution of a woman and whether she to be required to repent before execution. The majority said that a woman (apostate) is to be executed…”
- • AHMAD IBN NAQIB AL-MISRI, Reliance of the Traveller, translation approved by Al-Azhar Islamic Research Academy and IIIT, 1994. (p. 595): “ o8.1 When a person who has reached puberty and is sane voluntarily apostatizes from Islam, he deserves to be killed….o8.4 There is no indemnity for killing an apostate (O: or any expiation, since it is killing someone who deserves to die).”
- • ISMAIL R. AL-FARUKI, Founder of International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), Islam, 1979, p. 68: “That is why Islamic Law has treated people who have converted out of Islam as political traitors…[Islam] must deal with the traitors when convicted after due process of law either with banishment, life imprisonment, or capital punishment…but once their conversion is proclaimed, they must be dealt with as traitors to the state.”
- • LOUAY SAFI, former Executive Director of IIIT and former Executive Director of the Islamic Society of North America’s (ISNA) Leadership Development Council, Peace and the Limits of War, IIIT publication, 2003 (p 25): “A quiet desertion of personal Islamic duties is not a sufficient reason for inflicting death on a person. Only when the person’s desertion of Islam is used as a political tool for instigating a state of disorder, or revolting against the law of Islam, can the individual apostate then be put to death as a just punishment for his act of treason and betrayal of the Muslim community.”
- • SYED ABUL A’ALA MAUDUDI, Pakistani Islamic authority, The Punishment of the Apostate According to Islamic Law, translation by Syed Silas Husain, 1994: “In any case the heart of the matter is that children born of Muslim lineage will be considered Muslims and according to Islamic law the door of apostasy will never be opened to them. If anyone of them renounces Islam, he will be as deserving of execution as the person who has renounced kufr to become a Muslim and again has chosen the way of kufr. All the jurists of Islam agree with this decision. On this topic absolutely no difference exists among the experts of shari’ah.”
Therefore: To support the civil rights of former Muslims, also known as apostates from Islam, I sign “The Muslim Pledge for Religious Freedom and Safety from Harm for Former Muslims”:
I renounce, repudiate and oppose any physical intimidation, or worldly and corporal punishment, of apostates who leave Islam, change their religion from Islam to another religion, or express unbelief in Islam, in whatever way that punishment may be determined or carried out by myself or any other Muslim including the family of the apostate, community, Mosque leaders, Shariah court or judge, and Muslim government or regime.
- Library - WikiIslam's online library of books
- 2009 Pledge Recipients - Former Muslims United, accessed June 3, 2013
- 2012 Pledge Recipients - Former Muslims United, accessed June 3, 2013
- Jerry Gordon, "President Obama appointee Dalia Mogahed “overwhelmingly” silent on FMU Freedom Pledge", The Iconoclast, July 20, 2010 (archived), http://www.newenglishreview.org/blog_direct_link.cfm/blog_id/28629.