Islam teaches that shari’a, as God’s revealed law, perfect and eternal, is binding on individuals, society and state in all its details. By logical extension, any criticism of shari’a is heresy. Muslims who deny the validity of shari’a in any way are labeled as non-Muslims (infidels) or apostates (those who convert to another religion) by traditionalists and Islamists. As such, they face the threat of being prosecuted for apostasy, a crime that carries the death penalty in shari’a.
The mandates of shari’a are extremely harsh compared to modern Western standards. They infringe on many modern principles of human rights, religious freedom, and equality of all before the law. For example:
Hudud punishments are the severe penalities prescribed by shari’a for offenses defined as being against God himself. The punishments for these crimes are seen as divinely ordained and cannot be changed by humans. These include 100 lashes or stoning to death as punishment for adultery; 80 lashes for false accusation of adultery; amputation of limbs for theft; 40 or 80 lashes for drinking alcohol; imprisonment, amputation or death (by crucifixion in serious cases) for highway robbery; and the death penalty for apostasy from Islam. Methods of execution for apostasy can include decapitation, crucifixion, burning, strangling, drowning, impaling, and flaying. Apostates are denied a decent burial after their deaths, and the Muslims who participate in killing them are promised an eternal reward in paradise.
Discrimination on the basis of religion is fundamental to shari’a. By religious edict, Islam must be dominant; only Muslims are considered to be full citizens. Jews and Christians are defined as dhimmis (literally “protected” i.e. permitted to live). However this protection is on condition that they do not bear arms, know their lowly place in society, treat Muslims with respect, and pay a special poll tax (jizya).