Dr. ‘Abd al-Mu‘tī Bayyūmī believes that killing apostates is not a religious duty unless s/he is fighting Islam. His opinion angered a number of scholars.
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Applying the hadd of Riddah ignited heated arguments between a number of Azhar scholars who participated in the 22nd conference of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.
Dr. ‘Abd al-Mu‘tī Bayyūmī, member of the Academy of Islamic Research, stated that the hadd of riddah is not to be applied in cases of conversion, referring to the Qur’ānic verse “there is no compulsion in religion.” He added that the hadīth that suggest that he who leaves his religion should be killed in wrongly interpreted, stressing that death is only justified in cases where the apostate fights Islam.
Bayyūmī’s argument angered a number of the participants of the conference, including Ma’mūn ‘Abd al-Qayyūm, the former president of Maldives who stated that killing apostates has no exceptions.
Dr. Muhammad Nassār, lecturer of doctrine at the Azhar University considered Bayyūmī’s statements to be the result of foreign pressure, a matter that Bayyūmī denied.