Apostasy case: Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey calls on British Muslim leaders to back the right to convert from Islam

Lord Carey said some ex-Muslims in the UK  were forced to ‘almost go underground’ 

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has called on leading British Muslims to support the right to convert from Islam to another religion after a court in Sudan sentenced a woman to death for apostasy.

The peer said it was “accepted doctrine” that Muslim converts should face the death penalty. He also said there were examples of ex-Muslims in Britain who had been forced to “almost go underground”.

“Isn’t there something fundamentally wrong with Islam at its core that it cannot allow people to change their religion?” he told The  Sunday Times.

“It is accepted doctrine in Islam [that] you don’t convert and if you do the penalty may be death.” He added: “I want to hear Muslim leaders say ‘we allow Muslims to become Christians if they wish to’.”

Lord Carey spoke out after Meriam Ibrahim, 27, was sentenced to death by a sharia court in Sudan after refusing to recant her Christian faith. The sentence has been suspended as she is pregnant.

Read more: Apostasy - What you need to know

But a leading British Muslim thinker Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui told The Independent that the Koran said people should have the freedom  of religion.

The idea that former Muslims should be put to death was introduced later as part of “man-made sharia” law, he said, adding that the issue was being debated by Muslim scholars around the world.

“I think hopefully at some stage consensus will emerge that this is a very divisive, anti-pluralism approach and it must be abandoned,”  he said.  “The basic rule of the Koran is there is freedom [of religion]… the basic rule of Islam is there’s no compulsion  in religion.”

Asked whether Muslims should be allowed to convert, Dr Siddiqui, a fellow of the Muslim Institute, said they “should be allowed to do whatever they want”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'