[Buddha-l] Islam and forced conversion (Was Buddhists Taking a Stand Against Isllamophobia)

curt steinmetz curt at cola.iges.org
Wed Sep 26 10:36:22 MDT 2012

Even if we were to allow, for the sake of argument, that there have been 
no forced conversions of non-Muslim populations in the history of Islam, 
still there is the uncontested situation with respect to criminalization 
of "apostasy", to this day, throughout the Muslim world.

And let's be precise about what is meant here by the "Muslim world", 
which in this context refers to all those nations in which Islam has the 
legal status of official state religion -- and this applies not only to 
places like Iran and Saudi Arabia, but also very much to moderate or 
even "secular" nations such as Morocco and Malaysia.

In all these Muslim societies a person born to Muslim parents is legally 
Muslim from birth. And once one is a Muslim, leaving the Muslim religion 
is a criminal act (and in most cases at least potentially a capital crime).

In other words, the vast majority of all of the world's Muslims are, in 
no uncertain terms, the direct victims of forced conversion, since they 
are forced into Islam from the moment of birth are are forcibly required 
to remain Muslim throughout their lives or face penalties up to death.

And a great many Muslims fully support this status quo, including large 
(<70%) majorities in countries like Egypt and Pakistan who favor putting 
apostates to death.

The question of how religions spread, and how Islam has spread in 
particular, is of great importance to the study of the history of Buddhism.


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