Logo for Kampagnen for kollektiv frafaldelse i Spanien, der kræver afvisning fra den katolske kirke.
Kort over lande, der straffer apostasi.
Rødt: dødsstraf, brunt: fængselsstraf, fratagelse af rettigheder til ægteskab og børn, gul: anden straf.

Apostasi (fra græsk- αποστασία) betyder frafald og bruges om frafald fra troen inden for en given religion, og er normalt noget der bruges af de tilbageblivende religionsudøvere om den udbrydende; en sådan udbryder kan omtales som en apostat.[1] Typiske grunde til frafald er, når troen hos personen bliver til vantro/ikke-tro, altså en afvisning af religionen eller konversion. Det kan dog også skyldes ekskommunikation, forfølgelse eller hvis personens tro efterhånden afviger så meget i forhold til den ortodokse religion at det ses som en ny religion.

Apostasi i Kristendommen

Kristendommen er i sig selv ud fra jødisk synspunkt et frafald fra Jødedommen og Moselov. Om Paulus siges der i Apostlenes Gerninger:

Citatdu lærer alle de jøder, der bor blandt hedningerne, frafald fra Moses ved at sige, at de ikke skal omskære deres børn og heller ikke leve efter jødisk skik.Citat

Derimod er det fra kristen synspunkt netop kulminationen på jødedommen at tage imod den ventede Messias, altså Jesus Kristus. Derudover forekommer ordet apostasi (frafald) kun i Andet Thessalonikerbrev om forudsigelsen af et stort frafald i de sidste tider. Dog er frafald et stort tema i Det Nye Testamente, hvor der ofte advares mod alt der kan føre bort fra troen.

I kirkehistorien findes ligeledes mange eksempler på apostasi, særligt i forbindelse med forfølgelse.

Eksterne links


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Forfatter/Opretter: Michael Henderson from Brisbane, Australia, Licens: CC BY 2.0
Graffiti utilizado recientemente en las manifestaciones proapostasía en España.
Apostasy laws world map.svg
Forfatter/Opretter: RLoutfy, updated by others, Licens: CC BY-SA 4.0
Apostasy laws map. Laws affecting the right of an individual to leave his or her religion by birth or previous conversion, or the right to convert to another religion of his or her choice. Note that this map only includes laws specifically criminalising apostasy. If '(a public declaration of) apostasy' is considered a form/'evidence' of 'blasphemy', it not included here (because if blasphemy wasn't criminalised in these countries, accusations of apostasy would have no effect); the File:Blasphemy laws worldwide.svg map serves that purpose.
Death penalty
Converting a Muslim is a crime
Loss of child custody/marriage

Data sources:

  • Main sources: Freedom of Thought Report (regularly updated) by Humanists International, and Laws Criminalizing Apostasy in Selected Jurisdictions (May 2014) by the Library of Congress.
  • Afghanistan: 'According to the Article 1 of the Penal Code, crimes of Hudud and Qisas including apostasy are inflicted in accordance with the Hanafi Jurisprudence of Sharia law, which includes death punishment for non-believers and apostates.' Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Algeria: 'Since 2006, proselytizing by non-Muslims has been illegal and carries a fine of up to EUR 10,000 and a maximum of five years in prison and non-Muslim missionary groups are only allowed to conduct humanitarian activities. Distribution of materials which may “shake the faith” of a Muslim or “undermine the Islamic faith” is also prohibited. Apostasy is not expressly penalized, but draws consequences partially in the family law. Prior to the 2005 amendments, family law stated that if it is established that either spouse is an “apostate” from Islam, the marriage will be declared null and void (Article 32). The term “apostate” was removed with the amendments, however those determined as such still cannot receive any inheritance (Article 138).' Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Bahrain: 'By declaring Islam as the state religion and Islamic law as the source of legislation, the constitution implies that Muslims are forbidden to change their religion. However, the constitution imposes no explicit restrictions on non-Muslims’ right to choose, change, or practice their religion or belief, including the study, discussion, and promulgation of those beliefs.' There appear to be no known cases of people prosecuted for apostasy. Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Brunei: Section 112(1) of the 2013 Syariah (Sharia) Penal Code (fully implemented in 2019) makes a Muslim who declares himself non-Muslim punishable by death, or with imprisonment for a term not exceeding thirty years and corporal punishment, depending on the type of evidence. If a Sharia Court is satisfied that the accused has repented, the Court must order an acquittal. Library of Congress (May 2014). Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Comoros: 'Apostasy (from Islam) is a criminal offence in Comoros', although the punishment is unclear. 'Teaching' Muslims religions other than Islam is also a criminal offence: 'Article 229-8. Whoever divulges, propagates, or teaches Muslims a religion other than the Muslim religion, shall be punished by imprisonment for three months and a fine of 50,000 to 500,000 francs. The same penalties apply for the sale, offering for sale, even free distribution to Muslims, of books, pamphlets, magazines, records and cassettes disclosing a religion other than Islam.' Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Egypt: Apostasy itself is not a crime, but it has some legal consequences. 'Since 1913, the Egyptian penal code has not included an article on apostasy or conversion. However, a conversion from Islam has legal consequences in family law, regarding marriage, child custody and inheritance. A marriage between an “apostate” and a Muslim will be declared void. During the 1990s and the 2000s there was a surge in apostasy accusations between siblings and others, trying to obtain a judicial decree that a family member had “renounced” Islam in order to disinherit the “apostate” and accrue their share of an inheritance.' Freedom of Thought Report. There is pressure from Islamists on the government to introduce the death penalty for apostasy (which hasn't happened so far), and sometimes vigilantes try to kill apostates themselves. The Heritage Foundation.
  • Indonesia: Apostasy is not a crime, converting a Muslim to another religion or irreligion is not a crime. In March 2006, there were no known cases of apostates being executed or otherwise punished, nor of persecution of people who converted or tried to convert Muslims, despite Islamists calling for such laws to be adopted in Indonesia. Refworld. Although a draft Religious Rights Protection Bill has been proposed since 2017 whose Article 31 states that anyone who persuades others to convert from their original religion faces a maximum prison term of four years, it has not passed yet as of August 2018. Human Rights Watch. Muslim apostates and those attempting to convert Muslims have been convicted of other charges, such as 'blasphemy' and 'falsely stating he was Muslim when he was in fact an atheist.' Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Iran: Apostasy is not explicitly defined in Iran's civil or criminal legislation, but 'according to Article 167 of the constitution: 'The judge is bound to endeavor to judge each case on the basis of the codified law. In case of the absence of any such law, he has to deliver his judgment on the basis of authoritative Islamic sources and authentic fatwa.' And Sharia law has been used to punish Muslim apostates with the death penalty. Freedom of Thought Report. In 1989, Hossein Soodmand, who converted from Islam to Christianity and was a pastor of the Assemblies of God, was executed for apostasy. Jesus Prince of Persia. Interserve Australia (1 January 2009). Retrieved on 14 July 2020. The last time anyone was reportedly executed for apostasy in Iran was in 1990. Library of Congress.
  • Iraq: Apostasy itself is not a criminal offence. Overt declarations of apostasy (from Islam) may be persecuted as 'blasphemy' (Article 372 of the penal code) or 'sedition', and non-religious people face severe discrimination, but apostasy itself is legal. Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Jordan: 'Apostasy from Islam is banned in Jordan. Although not expressly outlawed through legislation, an apostasy trial may be initiated through the county’s Sharia courts by any member of the community. A person convicted of apostasy is punished by being deemed as officially having ‘no religion,’ meaning that under Jordanian law that person is stripped of their civil rights, the ability to get a job, and loses all legal relationships with their family.' Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Kuwait: 'There is no explicit prohibition of apostasy (Article 18), however, there is a high societal pressure against conversion from Islam. The authorities do not issue new official documents after a conversion and continue considering the person as a Muslim. Whilst religion is not designated on national identity documents, the law does prohibit the naturalization of non-Muslims. Religion is mentioned on birth and marriage certificates. An apostate can be denied custody of his/her children. The court can declare the apostate’s marriage as void and strip them off their nationality.' 'Apostasy' is sometimes considered a form of 'blasphemy' and is then prosecuted as such. Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Lebanon: 'If citizens decide to remove their religion from their official documents, they consequently limit their ability to hold government positions. Although not required by law, religion is generally encoded on national identity cards and noted on “ikhraaj qaid” (official registry) documents. Citizens have the right to remove their religion or change the religion on their identity cards and official registry documents. An individual is allowed to change religion if the change is approved by the head of the religious group the person wishes to join. The government permits the publication of religious materials of every religious group in different languages and there are no legal prohibitions to proselytizing.' Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Libya: 'There is no law providing for an individual’s right to choose or change his or her religion or to study, discuss, or promulgate one’s religious beliefs. There is also no law prohibiting apostasy or proselytizing; however, in practice the government has been prohibiting proselytizing to Muslims.' Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Malaysia: see File:State laws on apostasy in Malaysia.svg for a separate map on state laws. Apostasy is not a federal crime. (7 August 2017). "Malaysia probes atheist group after uproar over Muslim apostates". Reuters. Retrieved on 13 July 2020. Islamic apostasy laws differ from state to state. (July 2014). "Dropping the Muslim status officially in the Shariah courts". Malay Mail. Archived from the original on 2020-07-05. Retrieved on 13 July 2020. Federal law prohibits the death penalty from being carried out in the states Kelantan and Terengganu (so the maximum punishment any state can currently convict a Muslim apostate to is 3 years imprisonment). Jerry Choong (16 January 2020). "G25: Apostasy a major sin, but Constitution provides freedom of worship for Muslims too". Malay Mail. Retrieved on 13 July 2020.
  • Maldives: 'While many religious ‘crimes’ are not individually spelled out under the penal code, wide berth is given for the prosecution of ‘hudud‘ crimes under Sharia law. The penal code grants judges discretion to impose Sharia penalties, including apostasy and blasphemy.' In June 2010, Mohammed Nazim who had publicly declared himself a former Muslim, was arrested by police and given religious counselling by the Islamic Ministry in prison to repent or be executed; Nazim repented and was released. Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Mauritania: 'In 2018, Mauritania enacted a law which makes the death sentence for apostasy compulsory, as well as upgrading blasphemy to a capital offence and making that compulsory as well. An amendment to penal code Article 306 will see the death penalty applied to “every Muslim, man or woman, who ridicules or insults Allah”, his messenger, his teachings, or any of his prophets, “even if [the accused] repents”.' Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Morocco: '“Apostasy” is not a crime under civil or criminal law, although conversion from Islam is discouraged by the state. The High Religious (Ulema) Council stated in 2017 that apostasy was akin to “treason” but should not be punishable by “death”. Non-Muslims are prohibited by the Penal code to proselytize and to “shake the faith” of Muslims (Article 220). Proselytizing can be punished with a sentence of 3 to 6 months’ imprisonment and a fine of 115 to 575 MAD.' Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Nigeria: 'The Nigerian Constitution protects freedom of religion and allows religious conversion. Section 10 of the constitution states, ‘The Government of the Federation of a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion.’ However, sections 275–279 of the Constitution give constituent states the power to establish their own Sharia courts on civil matters. Abiding by Sharia law is required for Muslims in some states but optional in others and enforcement differs by state. Rulings and procedures are sometimes difficult to find. Christians are not obliged to abide by Sharia law in any of the 12 states.' Freedom of Thought Report. Although the states of Nigeria have a degree of autonomy to adopt their own laws, the first paragraph of the Federal Constitution stipulates that any law inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution shall be void. The Sharia penal code does contradict the Constitution, yet the federal government has not made a move to restore this breach of the constitutional order, letting the northern Muslim-dominated states have their way and not protecting the constitutional rights of citizens violated by Sharia. It is unclear whether any of the 12 northern states that have adopted some Sharia legislation are carrying out the death penalty, which would violate the Federation Constitution. Harnischfeger, Johannes (2008) Democratization and Islamic Law: The Sharia Conflict in Nigeria, Frankfurt am Main: Campus Verlag, p. 106 ISBN: 978-3593382562.
  • Oman: 'Apostasy is not a criminal or civil offence per se, however, a conversion from Islam has consequences; in family law, fathers who convert from Islam lose paternal rights. Religion is printed on birth certificates. In addition, it is thought that Article 209 of Oman’s Penal Code could be used to punish apostasy (though not by name). The article criminalizes an individual who commits an affront to religions and faiths by spoken or written word; a public declaration of “apostasy” may constitute such an act. The offences under this article are punishable with a prison term between ten days and three years, or a fine between five to five hundred Omani Riyals (approximately US$13 to $1,300).' Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Pakistan: 'Pakistan has no specific statutory law that criminalizes apostasy. A 2007 proposed parliamentary bill, which sought to punish male apostates with the death penalty and female apostates with life imprisonment, failed to pass.' Pakistan does have stringent laws against blasphemy that can be used to target anyone expressing anything deemed Islamically offensive. Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Qatar: 'Converting to another religion from Islam is considered apostasy and remains a capital offence in Qatar' (Article 1.1 of Law 11 of 2004). 'A blasphemy accusation could be taken as evidence of apostasy' (rather than the other way around). 'However since 1971 no punishment for apostasy has been recorded.' Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia has no penal code, the Sharia function as the law of the land. 'Apostasy is criminalized and mandates a death penalty. The criminal accusation of “apostasy” is sometimes deployed against people (including writers, activists, artists, or lawyers) who show any serious sign of pushing at the outer boundaries of freedom of expression, or who are critical of the religious authorities, and whose views (rightly or wrongly) are termed “atheist” or as “insulting to religion”. These laws are actively utilized.' Blasphemy (conceived as 'a deviation from Sunni Islam') is frequently considered a form of apostasy and may be prosecuted as such (contrary to other jurisdictions, where apostasy is sometimes considered a form/evidence of blasphemy). In a 2012 incident, Saudi authorities detained two men and charged them with apostasy for adopting the Ahmadiyya interpretation of Islam. Library of Congress, Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Somalia: 'The 2012 provisional federal constitution of Somalia does not explicitly prohibit apostasy, but does state that Sharia law comes before federal law.' (2012 Federal constitution 'Article 2: State and Religion. (3) No law can be enacted that is not compliant with the general principles and objectives of Shari'ah.') Since execution for apostasy is the regular punishment in Sharia law, it is presumed that apostasy in Somalia carries the death penalty. In addition, the federal constitution (Article 2), the Somaliland constitution (Article 5.1), and the Puntland constitution (Article 6) all prohibit the propagation of any other religion than Islam, and the latter two also explicitly prohibit Muslim apostasy (Somaliland constitution 'Article 33: Freedom of Belief 1. Every person shall have the right to freedom of belief, and shall not be compelled to adopt another belief. Islamic Sharia does not accept that a Muslim person can renounce his beliefs.'; Puntland constitution 'Article 24: Freedom of Faith. 1. No one can be forced to a faith; different from his/her believes. 2. The Muslim person does not have the right to convert from the Islamic faith.'), though the punishment is not clear. Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Sudan: The death penalty for apostasy was abolished in July 2020. (12 July 2020). "Sudan scraps apostasy law and alcohol ban for non-Muslims". BBC News. Retrieved on 12 July 2020. It has also been illegal to commit takfir (Muslim accusations of apostasy against other Muslims) since July 2020. Jason Burke (12 July 2020). "Sudan bans FGM and breaks with hardline Islamist policies". The Guardian. Retrieved on 14 July 2020. From 1991 to 2020, Article 126 of the Sudanese Penal Code, on apostasy, provided that any Muslim who declared publicly that he/she had adopted any religion other than Islam committed the crime of apostasy and was punishable with the death penalty. However, the provision waived the death penalty if the convicted person reconverted to Islam. Library of Congress (May 2014).
  • Syria: 'Apostasy is not directly forbidden, however, the authorities restrict proselytizing and prohibit conversion of Muslims from Islam.' In practice, many converts, especially from Islam to Christianity, have been forced to flee the country due to social pressure. Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Tunisia: There is no punishment for apostasy. It is illegal to commit takfir (Muslim accusations of apostasy against other Muslims) according to Article 6 of the 2011 Constitution. Freedom of Thought Report. Library of Congress.
  • United Arab Emirates: 'All citizens of the UAE are deemed to be Muslims. Conversion to other religions (and by implication, advocacy of atheism) is forbidden and the legal punishment for conversion from Islam is death (Article 1 and 66 of the Penal Code), although there have been no known prosecutions or legal punishments for apostasy in court.' Freedom of Thought Report.
  • Yemen: 'The act of “apostasy” is punishable by death. Under Yemeni law “denouncing Islam” or any blasphemy conviction may constitute evidence of “apostasy”. While the rate of capital punishment in Yemen is very high, the government does not enforce the death penalty for apostasy in practice: the law allows those charged with apostasy three opportunities to repent, which absolves them from the death penalty. It is unclear whether a moratorium is in place or whether an “apostate” who refused to repent would face the death penalty. Family law prohibits marriage between a Muslim and an apostate; by law, apostates have no parental or child-custody rights.' Freedom of Thought Report.