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Index / Religions /
Religous freedom

Apostasy in Islam.
By country
Algeria | Bahrain | Egypt | Iran | Iraq | Israel | Jordan | Kuwait | Lebanon | Libya | Mauritania | Morocco | Oman | Palestine | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Sudan | Syria | Tunisia | Turkey | United Arab Emirates | Yemen

Across practically all MENA countries, conditions for minority religions are largely difficult. Much of intolerance and suppression begins in state structures and cultures conditioned by Islam. Still, caution must be used before Islam is deemed as the only, or the actual reason for suppression, since with the exception of Israel and Lebanon, only Islam is the religion that represents the clear majority in the countries in this world. In short, we have no non-Islamic example to compare with.
Factors that may be of crucial importance are the level of political maturity; the level of cultural development; and the level of economic development.
Still, Islam is a religion that alway has given real regulations for how to suppress other religions (see dhimmi), the suppression of other faiths is commanded by the Koran and this again is instituionalized in several regulations in Sharia (Muslim law). Also, we see that extreme intolerance towards non-Muslims is a gigantic problem with Muslims in Europe as well.
Muslim intolerance has deep roots, the founder of Islam, Muhammad, exterminated the entire 5,000 individual strong Jewish community of Yathrib, the very same people that only few years earlier saved his life granting him refuge after the hijra.
Another example of Muslim intolerance is that over the centuries, major religious groups have simply accepted to be labelled part of Islam, in order to be left alone, see Taqiyya religions.
During the 20th centiury, Muslim intolerance forced between 6 and 8 million people from their homelands, first with the creation of the state of Turkey (see Armenian Genocide; Assyrian Genocide; and Turkish Greek Cleansings), later with the formation of indepedent Muslim states in North Africa, when Christians and Jews were driven from their homelands.
But again, this is not limited Islam, with the creation of the state of Israel around 1948, Jews drove Muslims and Chrisitians away from the lands desingated to become a Jewish state.

By Tore Kjeilen