Sahih al-Bukhari 6878—Narrated Abdullah: Allah’s Messenger said, “The blood of a Muslim who confesses that La ilaha illallah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allah) and that I am the Messenger of Allah, cannot be shed except in three cases: (1) Life for life; (2) a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse, and (3) the one who turns renegade from Islam (apostate) and leaves the group of Muslims.
Sahih al-Bukhari 6921—Ibn Umar, Az-Zuhri and Ibrahim said, “A female apostate (who reverts from Islam), should be killed.”
Sahih al-Bukhari 6922—Allah’s Messenger [said], “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.”
Sami, then, is plainly wrong. I expected Muslims to remain silent about Sami's error; nevertheless, Bassam has shown that, while Sami is dear to him, the Truth is dearer still. (This is why I think that Bassam will ultimately become a Christian.)
I think it's interesting to note that, according to Bassam, there are two primary reasons why someone might reject Islam's demand that apostates be killed. First, someone might have little or no faith in Islam. Second, someone might be influenced by non-Muslim standards of morality.
What does this say about Sami? I agree with Bassam completely. Sami either doesn't have much faith in Islam, or he's been influenced by Western values. (There is a third possibility, however. Sami could be lying about what he believes in order to deceive non-Muslims into thinking that Islam is peaceful.) Perhaps Sami can tell us which reason applies to him. (But I suspect that he'll just start complaining about the war in Iraq.)
Bassam's defense of the killing of apostates raises a number of questions. His primary justification, in effect, is that apostates may lead other people astray. Hence, it's better to kill them so that they don't lead other people to hell. If this is the case, however, why would this only apply in Muslim countries? Can't apostates in America lead Muslims astray? Wouldn't it be better to kill them? And why wouldn't Bassam's defense apply to people like me? I didn't leave Islam, but I'm spreading the truth about Muhammad. Wouldn't it be better to kill me than to let me speak the truth? Shouldn't James White, Robert Spencer, William Lane Craig, Sam Shamoun, Jay Smith, etc., all be killed, since they're leading people away from Islam?
I hope that Bassam can clarify this. But regardless of whether he does or not, I hope that he will continue to expose the false teachings of Muslims who have more respect for their own feelings and for Western values than for the clear teachings of Muhammad.
(On a completely different note, as someone who teaches Philosophical Ethics, I find Bassam's discussion of "Divine Command Theory" woefully inadequate. But I'll have to address that at a different time.)