Disputed, Sensitive and Indispensable Topics: The Study of Islam and Apostasy

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Abstract

Using examples from my research on apostasy from Islam, in this article I address some basic methodological and theoretical issues in the study of religions. The article contains an outline of major Muslim debates about apostasy in Islamic traditions, why apostasy is punished, where it is punished and the methodological challenges involved in its study. My aim in doing so is to show why it is difficult, but also important, to study apostasy and to show why we need to engage with empirical research that takes into consideration the lives of individuals who are accused of it.

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