Appearing on Egyptian television, talk show host Tawfiq Okasha aired a video on his "Egypt Today" show in which jeering local Muslims slit the throat of a convert to Christianity, and then cut off the martyr's head. The young man refused to recant his Christian beliefs. Islam abhors what it regards as apostasy and under its religious law - sharia - those leaving Dar al Islam - the Land of Islam - receive harsh punishment. The graphic video showed that while the martyr was being killed, he mouthed a prayer. His actual execution appears to take approximately two minutes. The slaughter took place in Tunisia, according to Okasha.

In the video, the dark-haired young man appears held down by masked men. His head is then pulled back, with a knife to his throat. He does not struggle and appears resigned to his fate. Speaking in Arabic, the narrator chants a number of Muslim prayers and supplications, mostly condemning Christianity, which, because of the doctrine of the Trinity, is referred to as a polytheistic faith. The following prayers or incantations are heard: "Let Allah be avenged on the polytheist apostate"; "Allah empower your religion, make it victorious against the polytheists"; "Allah, defeat the infidels at the hands of the Muslims"; "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger."

To the cries of "Allahu Akbar!"—or, "God is great!"— which is often heard shouted by Muslim terrorists and mujahideen - the man holding the knife to the martyr's throat begins to carve into his neck. During this torture, the victim appears to calmly mouth a prayer. It takes nearly two minutes of graphic carving and slicing to sever the Christian's head, which is then held aloft to more Muslim cries and jeers of victory.

Apparently distraught, television host Okasha asked rhetorically, "Is this Islam? Does Islam call for this? How is Islam related to this matter?...These are the images that are disseminated throughout the electronic media in Europe and America…. Can you imagine?"  In reference to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis, who are expected to win the coming elections in Egypt and are greatly feared by Christians, Okasha asked, "How are such people supposed to govern?"

Christians and secular Muslims noted that this week a top Egyptian Salafi leader stated that no Muslim has the right to leave Islam, based on the hadiths - pronouncements attributed to Muhammad, the founder of Islam, including the so-called prophet's command, "Whoever leaves his religion, kill him." Moreover, Islam's most authoritative legal precedents and experts are quite clear that apostasy deserves death. Just two years ago, an Afghan convert to Islam was condemned to death in his country. He was saved only after a concerted international appeal by Christians and humanitarians.

Abu Bakr, the first caliph or successor to Muhammad, who is considered to be the very paragon of Muslim piety and devotion, had tens of thousands of people slaughtered—including by burning, beheading, and crucifixion—simply because they tried to break away from Islam. According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, an authoritative reference work on Islam in the English language, "there is unanimity that the male apostate must be put to death."

The video caused a furor on the Muslim blogosphere, with many expressing doubts about the authenticity of the video and whether or not the victim was a Christian. There were suggestions that he was a Shiite Muslim who was killed for being a spy for the United States.

Nonethless, the narrator of the video repeatedly uses the words mukshrik - 'polytheist' - and mukshrik murtadd - 'apostate to polytheism', which has been taken to mean that the victim had converted to Christianity, which recognizes the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and that is at odds with Islam.



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