The death penalty has been outlawed in a majority of the world's nations, but continues to be used widely in the Middle East. one of the main reasons for the use of capital punishment in this region is that it is clearly permitted by the Quran, the Islamic holy text. As such, most nations that consider Islam to be the state religion (including Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, among others) and all Islamic states (including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen) permit and often encourage the use of the death penalty.
Several verses in the Quran support the use of capital punishment when used as a lawful means of seeking justice. For example, a favorite quote in the Quran regarding the death penalty states,"...Take not life, which God has made sacred, except by way of justice and law. Thus does He command you, so that you may learn wisdom" (6:151). Basically, this means that although murder is considered a sin, it is permissible to utilize capital punishment when required by law.
Muslims who support the death penalty believe that its use provides an effective deterrent against crime and as such, helps to promote justice. Islamic law permits the use of the death penalty as a punishment against intentional murder and Fasaad fi al-ardh, which translates to "spreading mischief throughout the land." This type of crime is interpreted in a variety of ways, but can include rape, adultery, treason, apostasy, piracy, sodomy and homosexual behavior.
Although capital punishment is still widely supported in Islamic states and nations in which Islam is the state religion, there are growing groups of Muslims that support the abolishment of the death penalty. Those who oppose capital punishment disagree with the mainstream interpretation of Quran passages regarding capital punishment.
In his encyclical The Gospel of Life , Pope John Paul II told us that we have an inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life .18 This Catholic campaign brings us together for common action to end the use of the death penalty, to reject a culture of death, and to build a culture of life. It poses an old and fundamental choice: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live. (Dt 30:19)
—USCCB, A Culture of Life and the Penalty of Death
“The reality in the United States today is that representation by a capable attorney is a luxury, one few of those accused of a crime or in prison can afford. There is a temptation to give up hope that the poor person who faces the loss of life or liberty or languishes in prison will ever receive adequate representation. Legislatures will not pay for it, most courts will not order it, and most members of the bar are unwilling or financially unable to represent a poor person in a criminal case without adequate compensation.” (Source: “Neither Equal nor Just,” Stephen Bright, president, Southern Center for Human Rights)