Muslim scholars say the original rulings on apostasy were similar to those for treasonous acts in legal systems worldwide and do not apply to an individual's choice of religion. Islam advocates both freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, a position supported by verses in the Quran, Islam's revealed text, such as:
Religious decisions should be matters of personal choice, not a cause for state intervention. Faith imposed by force is not true belief, but coercion. Islam has no need to compel belief in its divine truth. As the Quran states: "Truth stands out clearly from error. Therefore, whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks." (2:256)
Before issuing this position statement, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) consulted with members of the Fiqh Council of North America, an association of Muslim legal scholars that interprets Islamic religious law.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.