Former Muslim radical Shiraz Maher spent his student days campaigning for an Islamic caliphate in which execution for renouncing Islam would be written into the constitution. Now Shiraz is calling for moderation and greater Muslim integration into British life, a stance which has meant he himself is now labelled an apostate by some Muslim radicals, for which the penalty is death. He asks whether such an extreme punishment is really justified by the Qu’ran and the example of the Prophet Muhammad. ‘Could I Stop Being a Muslim?’, BBC Radio 4 FM
Listen on-line or to the repeat Sunday 27th at 5.00 pm GMT
This programme explores the issue of apostasy the formal renunciation of ones religion thus becoming an apostate.
Contrary to Abrahamic dogmas, there is no concept of an apostate in Hinduism or Buddhism, as everyone is accepted as one and the same. Converts to other religions from Hinduism or Buddhism are accepted in these communities, as there is no Hindu or Buddhist procedure that defines apostasy.
Thank you to my monastic walking companion for bringing the concept of apostasy to my attention. This is a new word for me but not a new concept, thankfully not one we have in Buddhism. I’ll listen to the recording of the above programme when I return to the monastery tomorrow.