Barnabas Fund exists to support Christians where they are in a minority and suffer discrimination, oppression and persecution as a consequence of their faith. Our goal is to strengthen Christian individuals, churches and their communities by providing material and spiritual support in response to needs identified by local Christian leaders.
Recently, Barnabas Fund’s International Director, Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, took part in a controversial discussion about Islam’s apostasy law on Premier Christian Radio’s Unbelievable programme on Saturday. This law prescribes the death penalty for Muslim converts who choose to leave Islam for another religion.
He writes …
In most Muslim-majority countries Christians have a lower status than Muslims, and they are subject to discrimination and restriction. These may leave them locked into poverty, illiteracy and poor employment, without even the basic necessities of life. And as a despised and disadvantaged minority, they are vulnerable to more severe persecution.
Often this is initiated by the state. In Saudi Arabia the government forbids non-Muslims from practising their faith publicly. In Iran the regime has arrested and detained many converts from Islam. In Pakistan the “blasphemy law” demands a death sentence for “defiling the name of Muhammad”, and Christians are at particular risk from malicious and false accusations.
I am a convert from Islam. The Islamic law of apostasy prescribes the death sentence for me and any adult male Muslim who leaves his faith. Although the penalty is rarely imposed, the apostasy law generates such intense hostility towards converts that they often face persecution and violence.