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Apostasy (pronounced /əˈpɒstəsi/; from Greek ἀποστασία (apostasia), a defection or revolt, from ἀπό, apo, "away, apart", στάσις, stasis, "stand", "standing") is the formal disaffiliation from, or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person.


Legal opinion on apostasy by a Fatwa committee concerning the case of a man who converted to Christianity: "Since he left the Islam, he will be invited to express his regret. If he does not regret, he will be killed pertaining to rights and obligations of the Islamic law."
  • Lo! those who disbelieve after their (profession of) belief, and afterward grow violent in disbelief: their repentance will not be accepted. And such are those who are astray.
  • Still in the garden shadows art Thou pleading,
    Staining the night dews with Thine agony;
    But one is there Thy woe and prayer unheeding,
    And to their guileless prey
    Thy murderers leading, Lord, is it I?
    • George Huntingdon, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 14.
  • The kiss of the apostate was the most bitter earthly ingredient in the agonies which Christ endured.
    • Elias Lyman Magoon, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 14.
  • AbuMusa said: Mu'adh came to me when I was in the Yemen. A man who was Jew embraced Islam and then retreated from Islam. When Mu'adh came, he said: I will not come down from my mount until he is killed. He was then killed. One of them said: He was asked to repent before that.
  • The intellectual origins of literary theory in Europe were, I think it is accurate to say, insurrectionary. The traditional university, the hegemony of determinism and positivism, the reification of ideological bourgeois “humanism,” the rigid barriers between academic specialties: it was powerful responses to all these that linked together such influential progenitors of today’s literary theorist as Saussure, Lukács, Bataille, Lévi-Strauss, Freud, Nietzsche, and Marx. Theory proposed itself as a synthesis overriding the petty fiefdoms within the world of intellectual production, and it was manifestly to be hoped as a result that all the domains of human activity could be seen, and lived, as a unity. ...
Literary theory, whether of the Left or the Right, has turned its back on these things. This can be considered, I think, the triumph of the ethic of professionalism. But it is no accident that the emergence of so narrowly defined a philosophy of pure textuality and critical noninterference has coincided with the ascendancy of Reaganism.
  • Edward Said, The World, the Text, and the Critic (1983), pp. 3-4
  • The absolute morality that a religious person might profess would include what, stoning people for adultery, death for apostasy, punishment for breaking the Sabbath. These are all things which are religiously based absolute moralities. I don’t think I want an absolute morality. I think I want a morality that is thought out, reasoned, argued, discussed and based upon, I’d almost say, intelligent design [pun intended]. Can we not design our society, which has the sort of morality, the sort of society that we want to live in – if you actually look at the moralities that are accepted among modern people, among 21st century people, we don’t believe in slavery anymore. We believe in equality of women. We believe in being gentle. We believe in being kind to animals. These are all things which are entirely recent. They have very little basis in Biblical or Quranic scripture. They are things that have developed over historical time through a consensus of reasoning, of sober discussion, argument, legal theory, political and moral philosophy. These do not come from religion. To the extent that you can find the good bits in religious scriptures, you have to cherry pick. You search your way through the Bible or the Quran and you find the occasional verse that is an acceptable profession of morality and you say, ‘Look at that. That’s religion,’ and you leave out all the horrible bits and you say, ‘Oh, we don’t believe that anymore. We’ve grown out of that.’ Well, of course we’ve grown out it. We’ve grown out of it because of secular moral philosophy and rational discussion.
  • If apostasy comes in the form of a crime, transgression, or high treason, it is only natural that it will be treated as a crime that must be fought, and must carry a certain punishment. But if apostasy does not constitute a danger or crime against society, I believe that society does not need to deal with this issue. We should be aware that the concepts of human rights are full of ticking time bombs. My opinion was – and I said this [in the West] – that no Muslim society could ever consider sexual liberty, homosexuality and so on to be a personal right. Muslim societies consider these things to be diseases, which must be fought and treated. […] And protection of moral values too. The problem is that the [Islamic and Western] civilizations are different. Our civilization is based on religion and moral values, whereas their civilization is based more on personal liberties and some moral values.” […] As I said, if an apostate has left Islam out of hatred toward it, and with the purpose of acting against it – this is considered high treason, because this is a Muslim society, which has had Islam for 1,400 years and other religions for over 5,000 years. One does not have the right to… In this case, apostasy is a rebellion against society. It is a rebellion both against religion and what is held sacrosanct by society.

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