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Friday, April 30, 2004

Conversion

440. The Islamic law expressly recognizes for non-Muslims the liberty to preserve their beliefs; and while it forbids categorically all recourse to compulsion for converting others to Islam, it maintains rigorous discipline among its own adherents. The basis of the Islamic "nationality" is religious and not ethnic, linguistic nor regional. Hence apostasy has naturally been considered political treason. It is true that this crime is punished by penalties, but the necessity scarcely as history has proved. Not only at the time when the Muslims reigned supreme from the Pacific to the Atlantic Oceans, but even in our own age of political as well as material and intellectual weakness among Muslims, apostasy of Muslims is surprisingly non-existent. This is true not only of regions where there is the semblance of a Muslim State, but even elsewhere, under the colonial powers who have made all humanly possible efforts to convert Muslims to other religions. Islam is gaining ground today, even among Western peoples, from Finland to Norway to Italy, from Canada to Argentina. And all this in spite of the absence of any organized missionary activity.

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