Iran to Punish Apostasy with Death

 – Most people who believe that their religion is the best religion seem to find no irony in the idea that those who don’t want to believe, of their own free will, should need to be pressured to believe – in this case under penalty of death.

– It’s always seemed to me that if something is the ‘best’, then its superior qualities should be self evident to all.  And if folks have to be compelled to believe in its superior qualities, then I can think of no better indictment of its inferior nature.

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Apostasy — or the formal renunciation of religion — is already punishable in Iran with death. But now, Iran wants to make the death penalty for apostasy part of the penal code. The European Union is concerned and has asked Iran to reconsider.

The European Union this week sent a letter to authorities in Iran expressing its concern over a proposed change to the penal code that would make apostasy punishable by death.

The EU is responding to news that the Islamic Republic is planning to subject “apostasy, heresy and witchcraft” to the Hudud — the body of fixed punishments assigned to crimes that are considered violations of the “claims of God.” Other Hadud crimes include alcohol consumption, theft, highway robbery and illegal sexual intercourse.

As the news agency Reuters reported earlier this week, the EU, which opposes the death penalty as a matter of policy, expressed “acute concern” over the proposed penal code revision.

“These articles clearly violate the Islamic Republic of Iran’s commitments under the international human rights conventions,” Slovenian leaders, who currently head the rotating EU presidency, wrote in a statement.

“The EU calls upon the Iranian authorities, both in government and parliament, to modify the draft penal code in order to respect the obligations.”

The death penalty has already been applied to apostates in Iran — but this was never, since the founding of the Islamic Republic in 1979, institutionalized as a matter of legal practice.

Iran typically dismisses Western criticism of its legal system, claiming that Islamic law is fundamentally different.

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