> There is, to my limited knowledge, nothing that supersedes the injunction to kill those who convert from Islam.<
I don’t recall exactly what was said either, but within the last couple months there was a discussion of the relevant passages (either on this forum or another). It’s my vague impression that they were unclear, and there were contradictory additions (maybe in the Hadith). I’ve already written too many voluminous posts today, though, and I’m reluctant to get into that now. If I can look it up easily, I’ll do it later in the day, and post what I find. (Searching for “conversion from Islam” [or similar terms] and “death” will probably turn up pages to check, and some will probably give detailed accounts of Islamic passages.)
It took less trouble than I thought. Wikipedia covers it fairly well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostasy_in_Islam#Punishment_for_apostasy There’s apparently no specific punishment prescribed in the Koran itself, and in at least a couple of instances Mohammed himself didn’t punish apostates with death. Also one part of the Koran explicitly says, “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error...” http://www.cmje.org/religious-texts/quran/verses/002-qmt.php#002.256 (Would that this praiseworthy dictum had always been abided by.)
Yet there are also, in my opinion, contradictory passages and acts, and one Hadith passage says “The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims.”
So we see that there are different interpretations. Some support the death penalty, some don’t. There are Muslims of considerable importance both in the present and past — we might even count Mohammed himself among them (in at least the mentioned instances) — who rejected the claim that Islam requires the death penalty for all apostates. That’s good evidence from the Muslim side itself that can be used against those who support it.
I’ve now read the entire Wikipedia article. The good news is that it’s true that some prominent Muslims have opposed the death penalty for those who relinquish Islam, and there appears to be no explicit command in the Koran itself that it be applied. The bad news is that this penalty represents the established view, and is generally supported by Muslims in most Muslim countries. It’s a sad story, and a sign of just how barbarous the prevailing views are. “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error...” Yeah, sure — words, empty words.