A lot of quotes from this article struck a chord.
In regards to the treatment of apostates:
Most keep their feelings to themselves. Those Muslims who disown or even criticize their faith publicly are likely to be accused of apostasy, a crime punishable by death under Islamic law–a penalty enforced in a number of Muslim nations, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan. But more commonly, the punishment for speaking freely is a kind of social death as the apostate is ostracized by family, friends, and community. Muslim moderates and Western scholars of Islam frequently cite the Koranic verse that affirms there is no compulsion in religion. Yet the weight of Islamic tradition, including the Koran, compels a Muslim to remain Muslim.
And the intellectual effect of religious certainty:
With any ``religious institution that is beyond doubt,'' he writes in ``Why I Am Not a Muslim, ``you have tyranny, thought police, and an absence of the critical sense that includes intellectual and moral progress.'I'm not necessarily sure that I agree with the 'apostate' featured in the article. He seems to feel that Islam is irredeemable; I think that any religious tradition can be extended to meet social needs. Witness the transformation of Christianity over the past century. Still, I think the article provides an interesting comparative example of religious dissent.