Apostasy killing of former Muslims could become widespread in the United States if the U.S. government and Americans don’t “wake up,” a panel of three former Muslims said on Capitol Hill Thursday.
The talk, hosted by three members of the new civil rights organization Former Muslims United, marked the first public appearance as a self-proclaimed “apostate” of Iranian journalist Amil Imani, one of the founders of the group. Imani and the panel’s two other speakers, authors Nonie Darwish and Wafa Sultan, told the audience that ingrained American religious and ethnic tolerance and myths about Islam are combining to gravely threaten the West.
“Shi’a radical Islam and Wahhabism is coming to this country,” Imani said. “There are 6,000 mosques in the United States now. All the money [we] put into gasoline comes back here and is used in the teaching of hate, violence, etc., etc.” in American mosques, he said.
Sultan, who said she regularly gets death threats and emails from people saying they will cut off her fingers and rape her daughters because she left Islam, said it is merely a myth that Islamic terrorists misinterpret ‘true’ Islam for nefarious purposes.
Westerners “don’t want to judge anybody based on their [religion],” Sultan said, “[But] Islam is not a religion. Islam is a very dangerous political ideology. … There is no such thing as radical Islam and regular Islam or spiritual Islam. …There is only one Islam.”
In the fall of 2009 FMU sent 111 pledges to Muslim organizations in the United States affirming the right of Muslims to leave Islam and not be punished or killed. (Shari’a, Muslim law, calls on Muslims to kill those who convert or otherwise leave the faith.) The document asked recipients to sign and return the pledge to FMU. Just two groups did.
The response is proof of a silent, creeping tolerance in the West for radical ideology, a development that augurs very badly for a free society, panel members said.
“You might think the threat is over there in the Middle East,” said Darwish, author of “Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel and the War on Terror.” “The problem is, we have books in America teaching that apostates must be killed. … The problems emanate from Muslim leadership in America. They won’t sign any document that says, ‘We are against shari’a.’”
Western governments seem oblivious to the apathy of supposedly legitimate organizations about apostasy killings and the growing ubiquity of fatwa (death warrant) issuances, the panel said.
“A fatwa of death can be issued from any country,” Darwish said, citing the 2008 handing down from the Middle East by Al Qaeda of a fatwa on Dutch parliament member Geert Wilders for an “insulting” film Wilders made about the Koran. “Fatwas are issued on Arab T.V. on a regular basis. … And these fatwas are following us right here in America. Why we are sleeping and not making a big deal about that is beyond me.”
Darwish said if free reign for such practices continues, they “will change the culture in America. (They’ve) already changed the culture in Europe.”