I would like to respond to Dr Syed Alwi Ahmad's letter. Syed Alwi seems to think that Islam is nothing more than a Middle East dogma. He assumes that Islam is less inferior considering the existence of other beliefs in the world. He seems to suggest that Islam should take a backseat when in conflict with Western beliefs, i.e. Darwinism.
He fails to mention the fact that there exist countless number of scientific studies proving Darwinism as nothing more than mere speculation. It explains the usage of the term 'theory' in the phrase 'theory of evolution'. It seems more than a 100 years after Darwin, the theory stays as a theory.
For ordinary Muslims, the notion that their ancestors evolved from apes is not something that they can easily digest. Ordinary Muslims are at ease with the notion that they actually come from a species that is the same as theirs. Having an ape as part of their 'family tree' is indeed a very difficult idea to digest.
Syed Alwi should also study the history of the Arabs before the coming of the Prophet Muhammad. Many of the teachings of Islam that we know today contradict the beliefs and practices of the Arabs during that time. Idolatry, intoxication, adultery, fornication, infanticide are just a few samples of Arab culture during the time of the Prophet.
The Prophet's mission was actually to change these Arab norms and beliefs. That is why the Prophet faced much resistance during his early years of Prophet-hood. In other words, Islam is far from being just a Middle East dogma. It is a universal teaching that is fit for all races and backgrounds.
As for apostasy, Islam views it as akin to treason. An act of treason against God. All countries in the world consider treason an offence.
In short, Syed Alwi should review his stand considering that the option he suggested (the theory of evolution) is far from infallible. In fact, it is riddled with so much contradiction and inconsistency, one wonders why it is still being taught across the world. Slowly, Darwinism is turning into a dogma.