43% of Muslims Support Death Penalty for Those Who Leave Islam (h/t @DanielPipes)
Let us call someone a “radical Muslim” if they believe that the death penalty should be given to people who leave Islam. Can we all agree that by the standards of general civilized behavior executing someone for leaving a religion is a radical position and that anyone who holds it is, therefore, a radical?
By that standard, what percentage of the world’s Muslim population is “radical?” While an exact figure is impossible, the available data strongly suggests that it is around 43%. That is to say, of the worlds 1.6 Billion Muslims, roughly 698 Million believe that those who leave Islam should be put to death.
In other words, if the number of Muslims in the world who believe in killing those who practice religious freedom were a country, it would have twice the population of America.
The figure of 43% comes from page 219 of the Pew Research Center’s report on the world’s Muslim population which can be found here;
The report does not list the corresponding population of each country polled, but I created a spreadsheet (found below) and did a simple wiki search of the various countries population (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_by_country). Now obvious this is not exact, given that there are strong regionalism differences in the support of the death penalty for apostasy among Muslims, but still the basic fact is quite clear; the percentage of Muslims who support the death penalty for those who leave Islam is high roughly the same level of support as Americans who support Obamacare today.
Personally I regard anyone who is so against religious freedom that they support the execution of those who leave their religion to be ideological enemies of my country’s ideals. It might be argued that those who support the death penalty for apostasy in Islam are the minority. This is true. But there is a world of difference between being a minority of say, 4.3% and being a minroity of 43%. A political or social body can pretty much ignore a minority of 4.3% without much difficulty. But no social group can ever fully ignore a minority of 43%.
If 43% of a group believe in something, they will find some way to influence the remaining 57%. They might not get what they want, but they will be heard and they will have an impact. The most famous instance of this is probably in March of 1933 when one Adolph Hitler was elected with only 43% of the vote.
40-45% of all Muslims are fundamentalists (Western Europe) (h/t Vlad Tepes)
Muslim fundamentalism is not a marginal phenomenon in Western Europe. This conclusion is drawn in a study published by Ruud Koopmans from the WZB Berlin Social Science Center.