During the Cold War Russian dissidents would say to visiting foreigners:
"Yes, the Soviet Union is indeed vast. You can go 3,000 miles up and down, and 6,000 miles across. But what happens when you come to the end of those 3,000 miles down? Or those 6,000 miles across? You still can't get out. You still are stuck."
That is Islam. You can't get out. You are not allowed the mental freedom to leave. If Islam did not promote the habit of mental submission, severe limits on artistic expression, hatred of, and war-making upon Infidels, the deliberate infliction of a state of permanent humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity on Infidels, if it did none of those awful things, but only -- only -- prevented those born into Islam from leaving Islam, that alone would entitle us to see it as a totalitarian and cruel belief-system, and to regard it with permanent wariness and worry.
Some have claimed that this prohibition on leaving has been set aside. Muslim convert Stephen Schwartz, for example, once wrote: “The Ottoman caliphate abolished death sentences for apostasy from Islam more than two centuries ago, but Western media still widely report that all Muslims believe the penalty for apostasy must be death."
This is, however, flatly untrue. In fact, even the so-called Tanzimat Reforms of 1839, which were designed to alleviate the condition of non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire, were not put in to effect whenever and wherever local officials could get away with dragging their feet. After all, it was only the superior power of the Western world that made the Ottoman rulers even go through the charade of easing up on non-Muslims -- the same kind of charade that can be seen today all over.
Ultimately, there were some changes in the treatment of apostasy, but only limited ones, in a few places. And today it is not only in Saudi Arabia and Sudan and Iran where one can find such a punishment still on the books. Think of the outcry over Abdul Rahman in Afghanistan, and the Qambar case in the 1990s in (choose your adjectives: tiny, pro-Western, grateful-for-its-rescue-by-America) Kuwait.
Schwartz, being a "convert to Islam" (after a bout of Trotsky, and the Summer of Love, and so on), has decided to present himself to the world as an "expert on Islam." That’s a nice title if you can get it, and you can get it if you simply write the sign yourself, and then paste it on your forehead. He can now spout off about Islam and enjoy his self-assigned role as Slayer of Wahhabi Idols.
And don't overlook the money, radix malorum. For the role of "moderate Muslim" is now a virtual ticket to government and foundation grant money, the seed money, the feed money, the keeping-up-appearances money that no one would ever think of throwing the way of the true heroes, those ex-Muslims, the articulate defectors from Islam, such as Ibn Warraq and Ali Sina, who could make scholarly mincemeat of the high-profile converts any time they bothered to notice them. But they have more important things to do.
Ibrahim Hooper, Yvonne Ridley, Adam Gadahn, John Walker Lindh et al, the Western converts to Islam, represent various types of mental disarray. In contrast, the apostates from Islam (not to be confused with the Apostles of Cambridge) represent the sanest, most humorful, interesting people who were born into Islam and mentally fought their way -- or in the Western world, if their parents had exhibited less-than-fervent belief, possibly skirmished their way -- out of the Total Regulation of Life, the Complete Explanation of the Universe, the entire cramped existence. They had the courage to no longer accept the belief-system that was inflicted upon them and their ancestors, those Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists, who at some point in that distant past were forced, or in order to no longer have to endure the unendurable, decided to convert to Islam, which has proven itself to be possibly the most powerful retrograde force, as Churchill once described it, in the history of humanity -– one that has stifled so much human potential and brought so much unnecessary woe.
Perhaps they are like those Cambridge Apostles after all.