Liberal talk show host Tawfiq Okasha recently appeared on “Egypt Today” airing a video of Muslims in Tunisia slicing a young man’s head off for the crime of apostasy, in this case, the crime of converting to Christianity and refusing to renounce it. The video—be warned, it is immensely graphic— (the actual execution appears from minute 1:13-4:00). For those who prefer not to view it, a summary follows:
A young man appears held down by masked men. His head is pulled back, with a knife to his throat. He does not struggle and appears resigned to his fate. Speaking in Arabic, the background speaker, or “narrator,” chants a number of Muslim prayers and supplications, mostly condemning Christianity, which, because of the Trinity, is referred to as a polytheistic faith: “Let Allah be avenged on the polytheist apostate”; “Allah empower your religion, make it victorious against the polytheists”; “Allah, defeat the infidels at the hands of the Muslims”; “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.”
Then, to cries of “Allahu Akbar!”—or, “God is great!”—the man holding the knife to the apostate’s throat begins to slice away, even as the victim appears calmly mouthing a prayer. It takes nearly two minutes of graphic knife-carving to sever the Christian’s head, which is then held aloft to more Islamic cries and slogans of victory.
Visibly distraught, Tawfiq Okasha, the host, asked: “Is this Islam? Does Islam call for this? How is Islam related to this matter?…These are the images that are disseminated throughout the electronic media in Europe and America…. Can you imagine?” Then, in reference to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis, whose political influence has grown tremendously, he asked, “How are such people supposed to govern?”
In fact, only the other day a top Egyptian Salafi leader openly stated that no Muslim has the right to apostatize, or leave Islam, based on the canonical hadiths, including Muhammad’s command, “Whoever leaves his religion, kill him.” Islam’s most authoritative legal manuals make crystal clear that apostasy is a capital crime, punishable by death.
The first “righteous caliph,” a paragon of Muslim piety and virtue, had tens of thousands of people slaughtered—including by burning, beheading, and crucifixion—simply because they tried to break away from Islam. According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the most authoritative reference work on Islam in the English language, “there is unanimity that the male apostate must be put to death.”
Finally, a word on the “prayers” or supplications to Allah made by the Muslim executioners in the video: these are standard and formulaic. It is not just masked, anonymous butchers who supplicate Allah as they engage in acts of evil; rather, top-ranking Muslim leaders openly invoke such hate-filled prayers.
See here for examples of prominent Muslims supplicating Allah to strike infidels with cancer and disease “till they pray for death and do not receive it,” and even formalized prayers in Mecca, blasted on megaphones as Muslims pilgrimage and circumambulate the Ka’ba, supplicating Allah to make the lives of Christians and Jews “hostage to misery; drape them with endless despair, unrelenting pain and unremitting ailment; fill their lives with sorrow and pain and end their lives in humiliation and oppression.”
“Is this Islam?” You decide.
More on Slaughtered Convert to Christianity
Raymond Ibrahim – Jihad Watch
I just received an email from the editor of a large website, who posted my story from yesterday about the slaughtered apostate. He writes:
The story generated a huge number of commentaries from readers, some of them originating from Muslim Countries. They harshly dispute and deny the veracity of the facts you mention in your paper. Some argue that this abomination did not take place in Tunisia—and I do believe so—but somewhere in Iraq, that the young man is not a Christian but a Shiite, that he was not slaughtered for apostasy but for being a spy of the Americans, and so on… It’s true that the facts are not properly documented : we don’t know even the date of this event, the place, the name of this unfortunate young man… Do you have any additional details and data to help answering ? Many thanks for your kind and urgent attention.
I responded with a quick list of facts, which I repost here, enlarged and augmented, for anyone else interested:
• Fact 1: The Egyptian TV host, who recently aired this video—which went viral on the Arabic blogosphere on Sunday, when I wrote my report—said this occurred in Tunisia. Yes, others have subsequently said that this was in Iraq, others in Syria; but, from what people have sent me, the only “evidence” is the same video—but with a title that indicates Iraq or Syria. Personally, I am inclined to believe a formal Arabic current events program devoted to the topic than an anonymous Internet posting with no further details. Either way, the issue is less which country, and more why the man was slaughtered. Read on.
• Fact 2: The Muslim narrator who speaks while the man is being slaughtered specifically names and continually condemns “apostasy”—the crime of leaving Islam—and even calls the executed man an apostate, i.e., the man is being slaughtered for apostasy, a capital offence in Islam. If the world is not surprised that the actual “government” of a Muslim nation, Iran, is preparing to execute a man simply for converting to Christianity, are we supposed to be surprised when roaming bands of jihadis take it upon themselves to execute apostates to Christianity in their midst?
• Fact 3: The Muslim narrator specifically names and condemns al-mushrikin, and calls the executed man a mushrik—i.e., a “polytheist”; in fact, he calls him a mushrik murtadd, an “apostate to polytheism”: this is the standard appellation for Christians, who are regularly called polytheists for “associating” Jesus with God. Yes, there are other religions deemed polytheistic in Islam, such as Hinduism, but one rarely if ever hears of Muslims in the Middle East converting to, and dying for, Hinduism, whereas conversion to Christianity—with all the attendant consequences—is a regular occurrence. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of apostasy cases, from one end of the Muslim world to the other, cases of attacks, imprisonments, etc., deal with Muslim converts to Christianity (see my monthly Muslim Persecution of Christians reports for an idea).
• Fact 4: My contacts in the Middle East, many well-connected with the doings of the region, regularly see and hear of such things, and are confident that he was beheaded for converting to Christianity. The reader is free to hold the opinions of these sources as biased or subjective; but if so, why hold the protests of Muslim apologists, equally biased and subjective, as more authoritative, especially in light of history, doctrine, and ongoing current events, which support the former opinion?
• Fact 5: Muslim apologists always deny anything and everything that makes Islam look bad and will, naturally, try to put the best spin on this video—turning the victim into the aggressor, portraying him as a “traitor,” a “spy,” etc.—just like the Iranian regime, after unequivocally stating that Pastor Nadarkhani is to be executed for converting to Christianity, began backtracking by saying he is to be executed for being a “Zionist spy,” an “extortionist,” etc.
At day’s end—and here is the most indisputable fact all apologists and detractors need contend with—we are left with a man having his head sliced off while his murderers scream Islamic slogans and accuse him of apostasy.
Raymond Ibrahim is an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.