Taha Abdul-Basser, an Islamic Harvard chaplain and a Harvard grad ('96), just made a big stir on the blogosphere with comments about capital punishment for Islamic apostates.
Reading some of the press, you might be left with the impression that Mr. Abdul-Basser was espousing vigilante justice and random killings.
It's not true. If you read his full statement, he was discussing capital punishment only in the context of state authority. His words were:
"This [capital punishment] can only occur in the domain and under supervision of Muslim governmental authority and can not be performed by non-state, private actors."
Listen, Texas and Louisiana are governmental authorities, and they impose capital punishment. There isn't a Muslim government at Harvard, for the time being.
The problem, however, is two-fold.
First, these states mete out this punishment for murdering people, not for free thinking.
Second is that a popular belief in the Muslim world today is that a worldwide Caliphate should be established. That translates as a Muslim governmental authority throughout the world – including the United States. Popular US Islamic personalities such as Abdul Alim Musa and Imam Johari Abdul Malik – the first Islamic chaplain at Howard University, espouse this belief loudly and clearly.
That makes Mr. Abdul-Basser's comments much more relevant.
So, does Mr. Abdul-Basser pray for a worldwide Caliphate - the rule of Islamic law over the United States?
If so, that is tantamount to advocating the execution of thousands of US Muslims for the heinous crime of free thinking!
If so, the Harvard chaplain would be advocating the state-sponsored, Sharia-justified slaughter of thousands of Americans for exercising a right and privilege that we now take for granted in the US - freedom of religion.