Anyone who thinks that the Abdul Rahman apostasy issue is just an aberration of some form of "extreme" Islam should read this article by Andrew Bostom at The American Thinker. (hat tip: suek)
Ibn Warraq’s seminal 2003 study of apostasy, Leaving Islam (p.31) , distinguishes transient doubt—edified by discovering the “truth” of Islam—from apostasy:Doubt is a very good passageway, but a very bad place to stop in. However, apostasy is a matter of treason and ideological treachery, which originates from hostility and hypocrisy. The destiny of a person who has an inborn handicap is different from the destiny of one whose hand should be cut off due to the development of a dangerous and infectious disease. The apostasy of a Muslim individual whose parents have also been Muslim is a very infectious, dangerous and incurable disease that appears in the body of an ummah (people) and threatens peoples lives, and that is why this rotten limb should be severed.
And punishment by death for apostasy from Islam is firmly rooted in the most holy Muslim texts—both the Koran, and the hadith—as well as the sacred Islamic Law (the Shari’a). Koran 4:89 states* :They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah’s way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.
One of the most authoritative Koranic commentators, Baydawi (d. 1315/16) interprets this passage thus:“Whosoever turns back from belief (irtada), openly or secretly, take him and kill him wheresoever ye find him, like any other infidel. Separate yourself from him altogether. Do not accept intercession in his regard” (cited in Zwemer, The Law of Apostasy in Islam, 1924, pp. 33-34).
The Big Pharoah comments on the imminent release of Rahman after the charges were dropped, bowing to international pressure:
Abdul Rahman, dude, when you get out of this prison tomorrow make sure to catch the nearest flight, car, donkey, whatever and get the hell out.
I concur, and hope that our forces will provide him with an armed escort out of the country.
Rahman's release does not at all alter the fundamental problem that exists between Islam and the rest of humanity; it simply postpones it for a while.
UPDATE: neo-neocon has more thoughts on this.