Originally posted on Translating Jihad
Translated from Arabic from the Muslim Brotherhood-linked European Council for Fatwa and Research, 16 Aug 2008:
Title: Is killing interpreted as restricting freedom of conscience?
Date: 16 August 2008
Q: One who converted to Islam from Poland, was asked by a wicked atheist about the penalty for one who apostatizes from the religion of Almighty Allah. What should he respond? He interprets killing as restricting freedom of conscience.
A: The issue of killing the apostate is a function of the state. His judgment belongs with the Islamic government. This is not the concern of Islamic foundations, associations, or centers. A group of Salafis and Imams are of the opinion that not every apostate should be killed, but rather only those who openly commit apostasy, or call for fitna, or voice harmful things against Allah and His Prophet (peace be upon him) and the believers. [The apostate] is killed in order to protect the religion and the community from his corruption, and not to restrict freedoms, as he by his action is infringing on the rights of others. The interests of the state and the society come before individual self-interest. In truth, this issue is similar to what is termed in contemporary law as “high treason” because of the harm to the public that it causes.