This post is a reply that I made on the infidelsarecool web site. The article was "Incredible testimony of Muslim Convert To Christianity Threatened With Death By Her Own Father".
The penalty for leaving Islam is death. This is considered to be an 'authentic' law. This means that Islamic scholars have ruled that the prophet declared this law. This 'law' has also been enforced for something like 1400 years. Islam has some serious structural problems. This is one of them. A major part of the reason why Shiite and Sunni can't resolve their differences (Since 690AD) is because each side believes the other to have left Islam. This contributes greatly to the conflict and violence between the two. It also helps understand why reconciliation has not been possible. You can't interpret this law any other way. You can only enforce or not enforce. This is another of Islam's structural problems, in that the 'laws' are specific and can only be ignored or enforced. As with many midieval systems, the laws are authoritarian and harsh.