According to a poll by the Pew Research organisation the following percentages of Muslims in the following countries favour making Sharia the “Law of the land”:
According to the same poll, the percentages of those specific Muslims in those specific countries who feel that Muslims who leave the faith should be killed are:
That is to say, 42% of Russian Muslims support making Sharia the law of the land and 15% of that 42% support the death penalty for apostasy, and so on for every other country.
To put these percentages in perspective, I went on CIA World Fact Book, found the percentage of people of each country who are Muslim, then worked out the actual number of Muslims who - according to the poll - support making Sharia the law of the land, and then worked out the actual numbers of those Muslims who think killing people who decide they don’t want to be Muslim anymore is the right thing to do. The results are not encouraging:
At every possible opportunity (such as when the Muslim population of a country was given as, say, 80.5) I rounded down.
So, how many of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims support the death penalty for apostasy? It’s impossible to say, because Pew didn’t poll every country in the world with a Muslim population. For instance, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria, Somalia, Syria (obviously), UAE, and numerous others were not included in the poll. I’ve also excluded Muslim populations in Western countries like Britain where, according to a BBC Poll 36% of 16-24 year old Muslims and 19% of Muslims aged 55+ also favour the death penalty for apostasy. All I can say for certain, is that, of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims, an absolute bare minimum of 316,764,924 verifiably the death penalty for apostasy. The real number is obviously considerably higher.
Not only that, but the Pew Poll only gives figures for Muslims who (a) want apostasy to be a capital crime and (b) want Sharia as law of the land. There are no figures for Muslims who want apostasy to be a capital crime but who, for whatever reason, don’t want Sharia as law of the land. In other words, the raw numbers for the above countries are all too low, to greater or lesser degrees.
The poll also (obviously) doesn’t include actual Jihadists. There are about 200,000 Muslims fighting for ISIS. I think it’s safe to assume that they all support the death penalty for apostasy. Same for Boko Haram (10,000 fighters, approx), Al-Qaeda, Hamas, the countless “Martyr’s Brigades” and many others.
The question for debate is this: Why is this such a popular position? Is it purely theological? Is purely cultural? Is it a mixture of the two? Or is there some third factor that’s to blame?