The Qur'an not only lacks any earthly punishment for someone who abandons Islam, it even includes verses that imply that such a change of heart should be a matter of free choice.
It is no secret that many Islamic movements in the Middle East tend to be authoritarian, and some of the so-called 'Islamic regimes' such as Saudi Arabia, Iran - and the worst case was the Taliban in Afghanistan - they are pretty authoritarian. No doubt about that.
There are strengths in Islamic tradition. Islam actually, as a monotheistic religion, which defined man as a responsible agent by itself, created the idea of the individual in the Middle East and saved it from the communitarianism, the collectivism of the tribe.
What made al Qaeda retrieve the doctrine of militant jihad, and Breivik the ideas of crusade and reconquest, is a sense of siege. So, we should help both Westerners and Muslims get rid of that sense by easing their political tensions and by fostering dialogue between them.
The main bone of contention is whether Islamic injunctions are legal or moral categories. When Muslims say Islam commands daily prayers or bans alcohol, are they talking about public obligations that will be enforced by the state or personal ones that will be judged by God?
The Arab Spring has heightened the ideological tension between Ankara and Tehran, and Turkey's model seems to be winning.