Revisiting Muslims, apostasy and capital punishment

In a commentary piece we did in 2013, we developed a chart, based on Pew Research survey data, attempting to show the percentage of Muslims who favored punishing apostasy with a death sentence.

That chart was wrong, so we added an updated chart and a short explanation to the original article. The thrust of the article, that Islamic zeal for religious purity helps drive the tendency for Muslims to kill other Muslims, remains unchanged.

We felt the original report from Pew was misleading since it measured the opinions of Muslims using data from a subset of the Muslim population: those who favor government based on sharia law. An anonymous blogger pointed out the report does measure the opinions of the general Muslim population on the topic of apostasy  in a chart on Page 219 of the report. We accept that data, but we charge that reading the Pew report for information on attitudes toward apostasy encourages the impression that Pew asked the question about apostasy only of Muslims who favor sharia. The section of the report talking about the death penalty as a punishment for apostasy exclusively uses data and charts on the Muslim subpopulation supporting sharia law.

We thank our anonymous critic for the criticism and have updated the article accordingly.

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