Two significant contradictions occur with Islam. The first relates to Islamic texts from which there are both verses that indicate that there is no compulsion in Islam, and others that indicate conversion through violence. Similarly, there are also verses that both suggest that apostasy is a matter between the individual and Allah, and other texts that call for the death of apostates.

The second significant contradiction in Islam relates to the insistance by moderate Muslims that Islam is peaceful, and the several Islamic countries where laws against apostasy carry the death penalty and where religious leaders incite violence against apostates. Even more egregious are blasphemy laws which prevent those in totalitarian Islamic states from criticizing any aspect of Islam. Such measures help assure the continuance of fundemental Islamic tenants, including those that equate to crimes against humanity.

By far the greatest worldwide percentage of atrocities committed against apostates are from Islamic communities. The claim of apostasy against individuals range from simply refusing to adhere to a specific tenant of Islam, to conversion to another religion. In some cases, such as when a woman attempts to leave an abusive arranged marriage, the abused woman may be killed by her own family members under the precept of “family honor”.

Today, apostasy is punishable by death in various countries including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan, Mauritania, Iraq, parts of Africa, in areas controlled by Islamic fundementalists, and the Comoros. In Qatar, apostasy is a also capital offense, but no executions have been reported for it. Most other Muslim states punish apostasy by both whipping and imprisonment. Clearly in these countries where laws and courts uphold crimes against humanity as punishment for apostasy from Islam, these countries are in direct violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Section 18. Crimes against individuals for apostasy violations include State sanctioned beatings, torture, rape, false imprisonment, denial of citizenship, denial of education, denial of medical care, denial of critical services, and murder.

In keeping with the UN’s mandate to investigate, denounce, and affect sanctions against countries that commit crimes against humanity as Human Rights violations, it is past time for the UN to act in accord with that mandate and affect a resolution to hold offending States responsible for recent and ongoing Human Rights violations.