Make that "Harvard Muslim Chaplain Supports Death for `Apostasy.' "
Jeffrey Imm has picked up on Net chatter at Talk Islam and elsewhere over comments reportedly made by Harvard's own Taha Abdul-Basser, Class of '96 and university chaplain, regarding a disagreement among Muslim students at MIT about the Islamic position on death for "apostasy." The New York City native reportedly wrote:
I am familiar with these types of discussions.
While I understand that will happen and that there is some benefit in them, in the main, it would be better if people were to withhold from _debating_ such things, since they tend not to have the requisite familiarity with issues and competence to deal with them.
Debating about religious matter is impermissible, in general, and people rarely observe the etiquette of disagreements.
There are a few places on the Net where one can find informed discussions of this issue (Search ["Abdul Hakim Murad"|Faraz Rabbani" AND "apostasy"]) . The preponderant position in all of the 4 sunni madhahib (and apparently others of the remaining eight according to one contemporary `alim) is that the verdict is capital punishment.
Of concern for us is that this can only occur in the_domain and under supervision of Muslim governmental authority and can not be performed by non-state, private actors....
I would finally note that there is great wisdom (hikma) associated with the established and preserved position (capital punishment) and so, even if it makes some uncomfortable in the face of the hegemonic modern human rights discourse, one should not dismiss it out of hand. The formal consideration of excuses for the accused and the absence of Muslim governmental authority in our case here in the North/West is for dealing with the issue practically.
And Allah knows best....
Funny, I always thought it was Father Knows Best. Anyhow, the Talk Islam posting on the subject notes: "Concerned Muslims who are Harvard alums (or not) are being encouraged to write to Harvard and complain. Some are calling for his removal."
(Fade to the strains of "Good night, poor Harvard, Harvard, good night...")