Liberal talk show host Tawfiq Okasha recently appeared on "Egypt Today" airing a video of Muslims slicing a young man's head off for the crime of apostasy, in this case, the crime of converting to Christianity and refusing to renounce it. The video—be warned, it is immensely graphic—can be seen here (the actual execution appears from minute 1:13-4:00). For those who prefer not to view it, a summary follows:
A young man appears held down by masked men. His head is pulled back, with a knife to his throat. He does not struggle and appears resigned to his fate. Speaking in Arabic, the background speaker, or "narrator," chants a number of Muslim prayers and supplications, mostly condemning Christianity, which, because of the Trinity, is referred to as a polytheistic faith: "Let Allah be avenged on the polytheist apostate"; "Allah empower your religion, make it victorious against the polytheists"; "Allah, defeat the infidels at the hands of the Muslims"; "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger."
Then, to cries of "Allahu Akbar!"—or, "God is great!"—the man holding the knife to the apostate's throat begins to slice away, even as the victim appears calmly mouthing a prayer. It takes nearly two minutes of graphic knife-carving to sever the Christian's head, which is then held aloft to more Islamic cries and slogans of victory.
Visibly distraught, Tawfiq Okasha, the host, asked: "Is this Islam? Does Islam call for this? How is Islam related to this matter?...These are the images that are disseminated throughout the electronic media in Europe and America…. Can you imagine?" Then, in reference to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis, whose political influence has grown tremendously, he asked, "How are such people supposed to govern?"
In fact, only the other day a top Egyptian Salafi leader openly stated that no Muslim has the right to apostatize, or leave Islam, based on the canonical hadiths, including Muhammad's command, "Whoever leaves his religion, kill him." Islam's most authoritative legal manuals make crystal clear that apostasy is a capital crime, punishable by death.
The first "righteous caliph," a paragon of Muslim piety and virtue, had tens of thousands of people slaughtered—including by burning, beheading, and crucifixion—simply because they tried to break away from Islam. According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the most authoritative reference work on Islam in the English language, "there is unanimity that the male apostate must be put to death."
Finally, a word on the "prayers" or supplications to Allah made by the Muslim executioners in the video: these are standard and formulaic. It is not just masked, anonymous butchers who supplicate Allah as they engage in acts of evil; rather, top-ranking Muslim leaders openly invoke such hate-filled prayers.
See here for examples of prominent Muslims supplicating Allah to strike infidels with cancer and disease "till they pray for death and do not receive it," and even formalized prayers in Mecca, blasted on megaphones as Muslims pilgrimage and circumambulate the Ka'ba, supplicating Allah to make the lives of Christians and Jews "hostage to misery; drape them with endless despair, unrelenting pain and unremitting ailment; fill their lives with sorrow and pain and end their lives in humiliation and oppression."
"Is this Islam?" You decide.
Raymond Ibrahim is an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.