'Can I Criticize Islam Without Fearing for My Life?'
At a Toronto mosque, an imam recently prayed that Allah would kill unbelievers “and spare not one of them,” and “purify Al-Aqsa Mosque from the filth of the Jews.”
An ex-Muslim named Sandra Solomon showed up at that mosque Saturday with some requests of her own:
I am standing here in your mosque today, asking for you to show me the tolerance you ask of all Canadians. To accept me for whom I am and the free choices I made to be something other than Muslim.
I have concern about my life and I would love to get an answer from you Muslims to tell me: Am I going to be killed, or my child is going to be killed or harmed by anyway for me openly criticizing Islam?
It was a fair question, and a poignant one coming at a time when the Canadian Parliament is considering a motion condemning an undefined “Islamophobia.” While Canada mulls officially designating Muslims as a victim class, Sandra Solomon is worried about being victimized by those supposed victims.
“[A] member of the mosque congregation said to Sandra that she is free to choose her faith emphasizing that her problem is not with Islam but with the Saudi regime.”
This was, unfortunately, not true. We may surmise this from how Islamic tradition records Muhammad himself dealing with criticism.
Abu Afak was a poet who was over one hundred years old, and he had mocked Muhammad in his verses. Muhammad asked the “companions” (sahaba), his closest followers: “Who will avenge me on this scoundrel?” One of the companions murdered Abu Afak in his sleep.
Likewise with another poet who mocked him, Asma bint Marwan. Muhammad cried out: “Will no one rid me of this daughter of Marwan?” One of the companions, Umayr ibn Adi, went to her house that night, where he found her sleeping next to her children. The youngest, a nursing babe, was in her arms. But that didn’t stop Umayr from murdering her and the baby as well.
Muhammad commended him:
You have done a great service to Allah and His Messenger, Umayr! (Ibn Ishaq, 674-676)
Then there was Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf. Muhammad again asked his companions: “Who is willing to kill Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?” One of the Sahaba, Muhammad bin Maslama, answered: “O Allah’s Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?”
Muhammad said that he would.
Muhammad bin Maslama said: “Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab).” Muhammad responded: “You may say it.” Muhammad bin Maslama duly lied to Ka’b, luring him into his trap, and murdered him. (Bukhari 5.59.369)