Ground Zero imam: 'Apostates against Islam must be jailed'
Those who leave Islam and preach against the Muslim religion must be jailed, declared the imam who has become the new face of the proposed Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero in New York City.
"If someone leaves the din, leaves the path privately, they cannot be touched. If someone preaches about apostasy, or preaches their views, they're jailed," stated Imam Abdallah Adhami in a November lecture obtained and reviewed by WND.
Adhami was discussing the Quranic view of apostasy, or Muslims who decide to leave the Islamic religion.
According to Shariah, or Islamic law, the consensus view in Sunni Islam is that a male apostate must be put to death unless he suffers from a mental disorder or converted against his will.
There are, however, differing views on the subject, with some contemporary Islamic scholars differentiating between public and private apostasy and arguing for actions ranging from death to nothing.
Adhami, speaking to a non-Muslim audience, claimed Islamic law only calls for punishment for public apostates and that most Islamic scholars demand only that public apostates be jailed as opposed to killed.
He claimed Islam was "revolutionary" for purportedly only punishing those who preach apostasy publicly, as opposed to other religions, which, he claimed, punish both public and private apostates.
"The Quran distinguishes between public and private apostasy," he said, failing to note most medieval Islamic scholars did not make such a distinction.
Adhami admitted, "Yes, many jurists said [public apostates] have to be killed. … But the position of the state was the position of Islamic scholars – they must be jailed so they are contained."
He said, "In Islam, in the Quran, theoretically, if you look over the Quran from cover to cover, you literally have the right to the choice to reject God's message. The only thing you do not have the right to do is to spread this conviction, lest you, quote unquote, pollute others."
Adhami further claimed that currently there is no punishment for Muslims who leave Islam and preach against the religion.
"What about now?" he asked. "If you left Islam, nothing happens. The Muslims are 1.5 billion people; they are not going to be hurt by a few thousand leaving."
There have been scores of recent, documented cases, however, some high profile, of Islamic leaders issuing death threats against those who leave Islam.
It was announced last week Adhami, 44, will be taking on the role of senior adviser for the proposed $100-million Islamic cultural center and mosque to be built near Ground Zero.
"This is an extraordinary opportunity to be a key advisor on a project going forward that has enormous creative and healing potential for the collective good in New York City and in our nation," Adhami said in a statement released by Park51, the nonprofit group behind the Islamic center.
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the Muslim cleric whom Adhami replaced as the face of the Islamic center, has said he will focus instead on a public speaking endeavor that started this past weekend in Detroit and is slated to continue in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and beyond.
WND reported Rauf kicked off his nationwide speaking tour by addressing the banquet of a group that is an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to raise money for Hamas.
Rauf's appearance in Detroit, the city with North America's largest Muslim population, was a keynote address to the so-called "Diversity Forum Banquet" of the Islamic Society of North America, or ISNA.
ISNA is known for its enforcement of Saudi-style Islam in mosques throughout the U.S. It was named by the Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator in its case against the Holy Land Foundation in Texas, which was found guilty in 2008 of raising money for the Hamas terrorist organization. Last year, Holy Land founders were given life sentences for funneling $12 million to Hamas.
Rauf had previously refused to condemn Hamas in a radio interview. The chief of Hamas has also come out in public support of Rauf's proposed mosque near Ground Zero.
Rauf told the Associated Press he will tour the country in an effort "to inspire interfaith understanding" for his proposed mosque near Ground Zero.
American Muslims like himself, he said, "can play an important role as interlocutors between the United States and the Muslim world."
Ground Zero imam: 'Muslims have more of a right to Moses'
Last week, WND broke the story that Adhami declared in a lecture Muslims have "more of a right" than Jews to the biblical prophet Moses.
In the same lecture, Adhami urged Muslims to "compete" with other religions.
Meanwhile, others have been scrutinizing Adhami's background.
Writing at the NewsReal blog, writer Joseph Klein revealed Adhami was a guest speaker at the annual convention of the Islamic Association for Palestine in 200o. T he theme of the convention was "All Palestine is Sacred!"
Adhami was reportedly joined at the speakers' rostrum by Dr. Sami Al-Arian, who pled guilty in 2006 to conspiracy to contribute services to or for the benefit of the Palestine Islamic Jihad.
IAP went defunct in 2005. It was established in 1981 by Hamas political operative Mousa Abu Marzook.
Like the ISNA, the IAP was named in a May 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document – titled "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America" – as one of the Brotherhood's 29 likeminded "organizations of our friends."
Also, the Atlas Shrugs website, run by blogger and activist Pamela Geller, found Adhami has expressed appreciation for Islamic cleric Siraj Wahhaj, who was named as a possible co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Adhami has called Wahhaj "our beloved imam" and the "voice of the spirit of Islam in America and its pride."
Also, Adhami's website, Sakeenah, hailed Wahhaj for his "devoted leadership to the community" and his role "as a pioneer in the American Muslim experience."
"Since the 1970s, Imam Siraj has tirelessly laid the foundations for many scholars and leaders that would follow him," the website states. "From activism to challenges, to the Nation of Islam to revolutions, follow Imam Siraj as he retraces the footsteps of his life."
Adhami's lecture about Moses echoes a message of seeming Islamic supremacy from Rauf's writings and projects. Rauf wrote a book in 2004 that had two different titles, one in English and the second in Arabic. In the U.S., his book was called "What's Right with America Is What's Right with Islam."
The same book, published in Arabic, bore the name "The Call From the WTC Rubble: Islamic Da'wah From the Heart of America Post-Sept. 11."
The Arabic edition of Rauf's book was produced by the controversial ISNA.
The website BigPeace.com, meanwhile, previously uncovered a scrubbed section of the Cordoba website that detailed a sister project of the organization founded by Rauf called Shari'ah Index Project.
The project's stated goal was to "define, interpret and implement the concept of the Islamic State in modern times."
"Imagine: a perfectly Islamic State," stated the deleted section of Cordoba's website.
Before the section was scrubbed, the Cordoba website described a series of planning meetings beginning in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in August 2006: "This session consisted largely of brainstorming and exploring the idea of creating an index of Islamic governance. At its conclusion, the group presented a vision for the project as well as a roadmap."
At the second planning meeting, in February 2007, the website documented how Rauf expanded the group to include Shariah experts from "Indonesia, Iran (to represent the Shi'a perspective) and Turkey, as well as two additional participants from Pakistan and Malaysia."
In 2008, Cordoba furthered its Shariah project, deciding to put together a book on the subject as well further refine the philosophy, overall structure and organization of the Shariah Index.