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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Francis' abrogation of the death penalty in Fratelli Tutti is being blown sky-high by his chief dialogue partner Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayyeb — who, in accordance with Islamic jurisprudence, supports the execution of apostates from Islam.
"Today we state clearly that 'the death penalty is inadmissible' and the Church is firmly committed to calling for its abolition worldwide," Francis declares in his latest encyclical, contradicting Scripture and 2,000 years of Sacred Tradition.
But al-Tayyeb, who is named five times and upheld as the pontiff's inspiration in Fratelli Tutti (All Brothers), trashes Francis' declaration, stating: "The four schools of law all concur that apostasy is a crime, that an apostate should be asked to repent, and that if he does not, he should be killed."
"[Contemporary] jurisprudents concur — and so does ancient jurisprudence — that apostasy is a crime," al-Tayyeb asserts in a 2016 Arabic interview, translated into English by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
"We should be aware that the concepts of human rights are full of ticking time bombs," the grand imam warned, labeling apostasy "high treason" and "a rebellion both against religion and what is held sacrosanct by society."
Al-Tayyeb cites the "exception of the Hanafi School," which legislates "that a female apostate should not be killed." He explains the exception is "because it is inconceivable that a woman would rebel against her community."
Church Militant's Arabic translator, who is himself an "apostate" living in fear of the death penalty for converting to Christianity, confirmed that the translation was accurate.
Distinguished Islamic historian Robert Spencer, author of 21 books on Islam, told Church Militant:
Al-Tayyeb clearly teaches that those who leave Islam must be killed. This is in accord with traditional Islamic teaching. Al-Tayyeb has shown no sign of moving toward the Christian position of the freedom of conscience and dignity of the human person. Only the pope is moving in the other direction.
Spencer drew our attention to the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI).
Article 2(a) of the CDHRI states: "It is prohibited to take away life except for a Sharia prescribed reason," explaining that, "since all four Islamic schools of jurisprudence concur on the death penalty for apostates," this made apostasy a valid "Sharia-prescribed reason" for the death penalty.
"Pope Callixtus III vowed in 1455 to 'exalt the true Faith, and to extirpate the diabolical sect of the reprobate and faithless Mahomet in the East,'" Spencer noted. "Now his latest successor is quoting the holy book of this 'diabolical' sect as if it contained wisdom that Christians should heed."
In a 2019 Arabic interview verified by Church Militant, al-Tayyeb contradicts Pope Francis' encyclical by condemning the Western notion of equality as "false" and stating that "the Islamic notion of equality is limited."
But Francis states in Fratelli Tutti: "I have felt particularly encouraged by the grand imam, Ahmed al-Tayyeb, with whom I met in Abu Dhabi, where we declared that 'God has created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity, and has called them to live together as brothers and sisters.'"
Pope Francis' statement on equality is a partial citation of the words of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. "It would be unrealistic to assert the absolute equality of human beings, although humans are basically equal in rights, duties and accountability," Muhammad declares, according to a narration in Ayub al Tabarani.
Orthodox Islam rejects the biblical concept of man created in God's image as blasphemous and the phrase "image of God" never occurs in the Qur'an. Pope Francis avoids declaring this as the basis for equality "because he does not want to upset his Muslim interlocutors. Instead, he adopts the words of Muhammad as the basis for his teaching on equality, with the notable omission of Muhammad's denial of the 'absolute equality of human beings,'" Spencer told Church Militant.
"The Western notion of equality is, I'm very sad to say, absolute. It has destroyed — or has strived to destroy — many of the values that are more vital for the stability of people's lives," al-Tayyeb observes in his interview.
"If we examine the Western notion of equality ... As a researcher I have the right to say that in my opinion, this notion is false," he adds, noting that this is the basis for gay marriage in the West.
Catholic feminists, who have expressed outrage at what they claim is a 'sexist' title for Fratelli tutti, are yet to challenge the pontiff for celebrating the grand imam as an "inspiration" despite al-Tayyeb's views on "wife-beating."
In the 2019 interview, the grand imam defends the right of a man to beat his wife under "certain conditions."
People should realize that "the Qur'an's mentions of wife-beating are not an order. Rather, the Qur'an allows using this method," al-Tayyeb explains, "when there is no other way, and when he [the husband] strongly believes that this would help resolve the problem. Only in this case, the husband is allowed to beat his wife."
Al-Tayyeb also categorically stated: "There is not a single al-Azhar scholar who claims that it is permissible for women to lead men in prayer ... These things are meant to cause confusion and to undermine social and religious stability in Islamic societies."
On Sunday, after the publication of the encyclical, al-Tayyeb tweeted:
My brother, Pope Francis' message, Fratelli Tutti, is an extension of the Document on Human Fraternity, and reveals a global reality in which the vulnerable and marginalized pay the price for unstable positions and decisions. It is a message that is directed to people of goodwill, whose consciences are alive and restores to humanity consciousness.
Church Militant asked the Vatican if Pope Francis was aware of al-Tayyeb's views when signing the Human Fraternity document and quoting it extensively in his latest encyclical but has so far received no response.
In 2019, Church Militant reported on al-Tayyeb's anti-Semitic views endorsing suicide attacks against Jewish men, women and children.