Askar Ali, who renounced Islam recently, has alleged that he was being harassed by his relatives. Speaking to The New Indian Express, he said on May 1, before he addressed the conference of Essence Global, his kin tried to kidnap him. He said, “Two relatives came to me on the pretext of discussing family matters and took me to the beach in the morning. Later, with the help of others who arrived in a car, they forcibly tried to put me in the vehicle. One person smashed my mobile phone. I screamed, and people who rushed to the spot called the police.”
Askar is currently living at a friend’s place and had to appear before the magistrate as his family members had lodged a missing person complaint. He added, “I left Islam after I studied it in detail. When I was doing the [Hudawi] course, there was very little opportunity to read materials other than those related to Islam. During the lockdowns, I got to read other disciplines, which opened my eyes.” Askar said those who leave the religion are seen as despicable creatures by their family members.
On May 4, it was reported that 24-year-old Askar was attacked by a Muslim mob for leaving Islam. He filed an attempt to murder case with the Kollam police. In his complaint, Ali alleged that the mob attacked him after he quit Islam and added that he was facing threats from within the community for doing so.
Askar Ali, who hails from Malappuram, has completed a 12-year Hudawi religious programme from a prominent religious academy in Malappuram. On Sunday, he was in Kollam to deliver a talk on his experience as a student of Islamic studies at an event organised by Essense Global, an organisation promoting “scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform in society”.
In his complaint, Ali said that a group of people from Malappuram tried to abduct him to ensure that he did not address the event.
Apostasy punishable by death in Islam
Apostasy in Islam is punishable by death. In 2014, in eight Muslim majority countries, apostasy, abandonment of Islam by a Muslim, was punishable by death. In thirteen countries there were either penal or civil penalties like jail time, fine or even losing child’s custody. Just a few decades back, majority of Shia and Sunni jurists believed that leaving Islam was crime as well as sin.