I made this map based on Razib Khan’s calculated figures of the percentage of Muslims around the world who support the death penalty for apostasy, which he compiled using data from the 2013 PEW global survey of Muslim attitudes.
Click to enlarge. Warning: Large map!
EDIT: Forgot to include figures for Russian Muslims – it is at ~6%, about same as Tajikistan. See comment.
These figures were derived on the basis of the percentage of Muslims who agreed that sharia should be the law of the land, and in turn on the percentage of sharia supporters who agree with capital punishment for apostates from Islam, as prescribed in tradition. As Razib Khan points out, these figures represent a minimum, because there might be a few Muslims who don’t support sharia law but support the death penalty for apostasy. Nonetheless, such cases will be few and far between, so the figures can probably be taken more or less at face value.
Commentary is largely superfluous, so I will limit myself to just a few remarks:
(1) A solid majority of Muslims in Egypt support the death penalty. Conservatively assuming 80% of the population is Sunni Muslim, that’s 51% of the population that are essentially Islamist extremists and potential Islamic State sympathizes. That also happens to be the exact percentage that voted for Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi in 2012. This probably makes liberal democracy in Egypt all but impossible: Its either the mustachioed soldiers or the bearded preachers. Choose one.
(2) The majority of Muslims in Malaysia and Jordan, both countries widely seen as “moderate,” support the dealth penalty for apostasy.
(3) The only country of the Arab Spring to transition to a more or less functioning democracy is Tunisia. Probably not coincidentally, it is also the most religiously “progressive” of all the Arab states. In those areas where the Islamic State has been taking power – northern Iraq, eastern Syria, the Sinai, the central Libyan coast, chunks of Afghanistan – it appears that the local population supports the death penalty for apostasy and other extremist interpretations of Islam, far more so than even in the rest of the world. Perhaps ~50% is a sort of “tipping point” for the most rabidly chiliastic Islamist cults to take root?
(4) There is very likely a connection between Islamic radicalism (and depressed IQs) with cousin marriage (see my post on the close correlation between the rate of cousin marriage and support for Islamic State in Syria).
(5) It seems almost banal to point it out, but then again, as Gregory Cochran points out, even very obvious things need to be repeated now and then.
Anyone who supports the death penalty for religious apostasy is, by definition, a fundamentalist. In many, perhaps most, Muslim countries, a majority or close to a majority qualifies as such.
There are very, very big and disturbing figures.
That famous “Moderate Muslim” infographic: Not the same thing as a moderate Christian or Buddhist.
It is highly unlikely would find more than 1% of Christians in any country supporting the death penalty for apostasy, and even that 1% would as often as not be merely trolling the pollster. The only surveyed major Muslim countries with a comparable level of insanity are Kazakhstan and possibly Turkey. Regardless of 70 years of secular propaganda, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have three to five times the number of fundamentalists per capita, with 5-6% of their Muslim population supporting death for apostasy; though still an order of magnitude better than neighboring Afpak and the Middle East, these figures can already make themselves felt in events such as the defection of a senior Tajik policeman to the Islamic State.
It only gets worse from there on. Tunisia, with 16% of the population being fundamentalists, gets regularly wracked by terrorist strikes; Bangladesh, with 33%, sees atheist bloggers murdered with impunity. The percentage of Muslims who are fundamentalists in Western Europe is (based on other polls) probably generally around the 25% mark. That is a lot of fundamentalists. And it translates to a permanent, simmering terrorist threat. Which – rather conveniently? – requires an ever expanding security/surveillance state to keep suppressed. Once you go above the 50% mark, as in Jordan, Pakistan, or Egypt, only a dictator or a well-respected monarch prevents the people – the demos – from actualizing their back-to-the-roots fantasies.
This is why apples to apples comparisons of Islamic fundamentalism to extremism in other religions and feel good slogans like #NotAllMuslims are naive and facile at best.
Based on these figures from Razib Khan:
||Sharia should be law of land
||Muslims who believe sharia should be law who accept death penalty for apostasy
||% of Muslims who accept death penalty for apostasy