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Jakarta Post

Muslims have no authority to punish unbelievers

PREMIUM
Toronto   /   Fri, March 3, 2017   /  09:07 am
Muslims have no authority to punish unbelievers Protesters’ mecca: Muslims gather near the National Monument in Jakarta on Friday, Dec. 2 2016, as they rally against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, whom the police have named a blasphemy suspect. (Antara/Sigid Kurniawan)

There is no Holy Scripture that declares categorically that “there shall be no compulsion in religion” but the Holy Quran. Even though the Quran addresses the word “disbelief” more than 150 times, Muslims have never been given the authority to punish disbelievers. The Quran says repeatedly in its verses that Muslims can only rebuke non-Muslims regarding religious matters. Because religious matters are never mentioned in the Holy Book as crimes to be dealt with via secular punishment, to what extent is blasphemy acceptable and punishable? Blasphemy in Islam is a strange concept. The notion “blasphemy” stems from the old English word blasfemen, French blasfemer and Latin blasphemare, meaning “I harm.” Based on this meaning, rulers used laws to victimize nonmembers of the ruling group and their dissidents. Nation states that had a state ...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.