A fundamental belief of Agnostic Muslims is that everyone should be free to think, speculate, and express freely his or her views about the Creator, the Origins of the universe, Islam, the Qur’an, the life of the Prophet, or any other subject. We do not encourage disrespect towards the sacred views of others; HOWEVER, we think that making a habit of punishing disrespect is a slippery slope that can lead very easily into the stifling of critical thought, and the suppression of important ideas, in addition to violating each individual’s God given right to think and express themselves.
It is far better to tolerate a little bit of disrespect, even toward sacred ideas, than to abuse the concepts of blasphemy and apostasy to silence dissenting views. For this reason, Agnostic Muslims are proud to support the Fatwa on Freedom of Expression and Religion (FEAR).
Whether you think “true” Islam supports free speech or not, the fact is that freedom of speech in today’s Muslim world on matters of personal spirituality is very poor. We think that when people rob others of their right to express their spiritual views, this is the greatest form of blasphemy possible. Please read the full Fatwa in the link, originally developed by our friends at Muslims for Progressive Values and sign the petition at Change.org.
The Fatwa on Freedom of Expression and Religion In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful:
Screengrab from Interview With Raif Badawi’s daughter video on Youtube
As Muslims who cherish our God-given right to worship free of constraints from governments or other human beings, we call today for the complete elimination and eradication of any worldly forms of persecution or punishment directed toward any individual or group of individuals, for the expression of any non-violent religious belief, including conscious rejection of any tenet fundamental to the creed of Islam.
For while we, the undersigned, affirm the rightness of Islam, we also affirm the right of every individual to choose for themselves how they interpret their religious obligations as a Muslim; or to choose to follow the tenets of a different faith, or no faith at all. We affirm that this accords with our interpretation of the Holy Qur’an, which states clearly and unequivocally in Surah Baqarah, Verse 256: “There shall be no compulsion (in the acceptance) of religion.”
Our affirmation is further supported in Surah Yunus, Verses 99-100: “And had your Lord willed, those on Earth would have believed, all of them entirely. Then would you compel them in order that they would become believers? It is not for a soul to believe except for by permission of Allah, and He will place defilement on those who do not use reason.”
We affirm furthermore that any statement to the contrary by any past or present Islamic scholar is one that we find fault with, and is not binding on we Muslims who have signed this petition. This call is directed towards every Muslim-majority government and non-state actor; and every Muslim community and family; and every Muslim individual.
We urge the entire Muslim world to affirm that the crimes of blasphemy and apostasy- whether real or merely supposed- are private matters, between each individual and his or her Creator exclusively. Let there be no confusion for anyone that Freedom of Expression and Religion is a protected right in Islam.
And Allah knows best.