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People and Politics Forum 03.03.2008

"Should governments do more to protect people who leave Islam?"

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More information:

Converting in Fear - Why Muslims who become Christians are under threat

The 200 or so Muslims who convert to Christianity here in Germany every year are taking a serious risk. Many of them and their families are put under pressure by radical Muslims and they even receive death threats. The Koran says anyone who abandons his faith shall die as an infidel. But the converts are defending their actions, claiming the basic right of religious freedom here in Germany. Many of them have now joined an association for ex-Muslims which is run by Mina Ahadi. She, too, now has to live with constant death threats.

Our Question was:

"Should governments do more to protect people who leave Islam?"

Akomah Benjamin Boahene, Ghana, writes:

"In my opinion, I think people who change their religion from Islam to Christianity must be protected to save their lives. Why should people be envied for having a change of mind? Have people forgotten that the only constant thing in life is change? When there is a change which does not favour you, it does not mean you should kill and waste peoples‘ life. Do Muslims sincerly believe that we worship only one god? Please, leave people alone to decide for themselves the kind of faith they believe in."

Charles Smyth, Great Britain:

"Given that securing the rights of its citizens is the government’s primary responsibility, the government must protect the rights of Muslims to convert to whatever faith – including Christianity – they choose, without fear of reprisal from Muslim extremists. For the government to do otherwise, wound undermine the purpose of having a government."

Martin Burmeister, Venezuela:

"I think all citizens in Germany have sufficient legal and personal protection. Should any group or individual face a serious threat, there are enough possibilities to obtain appropriate legal protection."

Michael Stephan, Canada:

"Why should Germany spend money to protect people who are threatened by totalitarian Islamists in the country? In Canada people bent on committing crimes are expelled from the country immediately. Perhaps that’s one reason why immigrants here of all faiths live together so remarkably well. There are laws to deal with those who can not be expelled. The German legal system should decide on appropriate sentences. Unfortunately, all too often a threat directed against the life and welfare of an individual is treated as a harmless offence."

Jack Becconsall, Great Britain:

"Death threats or persecution against apostates cannot be tolerated in Europe. Governments must not only enforce protection within Europe, but also do as much as possible to support victims of such barbarism wherever it is occuring."

Paul Khor, New Zealand

"Muslims are fanatics and often go against the Koran but will justify what they do 'in the name of islam'. Muslims are blindly led by the Imams and leaders and most do not question many of the teachings and opinions. As a result they are willing to sacrifice themselves to kill others. The converts have seen the light and they can be only an asset to a country and its population."

Anh-Tuan Nguyen, Vietnam

"I am against using stereotypes when it comes to Islam. We really have to look at facts: One fact is, that there are a lot of peaceful Moslems out there. Another fact is that converted Moslems often have to fear for their lives. I don't think we should allow intolerance, violence and oppression to rule our society. We need a clear statement from a government that violence by anyone is in no way tolerated. (...) If Moslems claim that Islam is a peaceful religion they have to show it by action, i.e. publicly condemn every kind of violence and protect minorities or people of other faiths. And the German government has to take a lead role in that by protecting people who leave Islam."

Kaan Sahilyol, Turkey

"(...) I believe that DW-TV's coverage of the story greatly exaggerates the existence of such a threat, and thereby does a great injustice to the majority of Muslims in Germany. Although there are few radical Muslim individuals who may offend and threaten converts to Christianity, most German Muslims of Turkish ancestry are extremely tolerant. It is therefore an ignorant generalization to claim that all German Muslim organizations approve and/or tolerate this attitude towards converts to Christianity. Without a doubt, more should be done in order to educate members of all religions to respect and tolerate each other, but I sadly believe that DW-TV's method is not the right way."

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