Freedom of Religions Greece

Editorial

Even though the practice in many so-called Muslim countries may lead to the opposite conclusion,freedom of speech and conscience are fundamental tenets of the faith of Islam. Recent cases have led to the impression that turning away from Islam or any other faith (apostasy) is a sin punishable by death. In this issue we break that myth categorically. This dilemma is not limited to Islam. In the context of the Teacher of Righteousness, we can see how theological conflict was exercised two thousand years ago in the Jewish community. We also see an example in Athens of where as soon as freedom of thought and freedom of conscience were established in the 5th century BCE, great advances were made in theology and philosophy. A healthy respect for and interest in other faiths raised the understanding of the ancient Greeks in a way that is still appreciated today. In the same way, when Islam reached its zenith in Spain, Jews, Christians and Muslims lived in harmony together, researched all faiths and beliefs, and inspired by the Greeks reached new heights in spiritual understanding. Faith and religion are personal. It is in man’s relationship with God, that only God can understand the intentions and motives of a man in his actions. So if someone decides to accept a faith or to change a faith, this is a matter purely for the individual concerned. Seeking knowledge is always a good thing, and can only ever provide more evidence for the truth. It is through seeking knowledge that we can break down our own ignorance just as the Greeks and the early Muslims inspired by Islam did. In today’s world, we must encourage dialogue and research to remove ignorance, and banish false views about apostasy and jihad. 2 The Review of Religions – July 2006 Fazal Ahmad– New Malden, UK EDITORIAL