Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Christian Convert Fights Malaysian Law

Lina Joy has been disowned by her family, shunned by friends and forced into hiding - all because she renounced Islam and embraced Christianity in Muslim-majority Malaysia.
Now, after a seven-year legal struggle, Malaysia's highest court will decide on Wednesday whether her constitutional right to choose her religion overrides an Islamic law that prohibits Malay Muslims from leaving Islam.
Either way, the verdict will have profound implications on society in a country where Islam is increasingly conflicting with minority religions, challenging Malaysia's reputation as a moderate Muslim and multicultural nation that guarantees freedom of worship.
Joy's case began in 1998 when, after converting, she applied for a name change on her government identity card. The National Registration Department obliged but refused to drop Muslim from the religion column.
She appealed the decision to a civil court but was told she must take it to Islamic Shariah courts. But Joy, 42, has argued that she should not be bound by Shariah law because she is a Christian.
Subsequent appeals all ruled that the Shariah court should decide the case until it reached the highest court, the Federal Court, which will make the final decision on whether Muslims who renounce their faith must still answer to the country's Islamic courts.
About 60 percent of Malaysia's 26 million people are Malay Muslims, whose civil, family, marriage and personal rights are decided by Shariah courts. The minorities - the ethnic Chinese, Indians and other smaller communities - are governed by civil courts.
But the constitution does not say who has the final say in cases such as Joy's when Islam confronts Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism or other religions.

If Joy loses her appeal and continues to insist she is a Christian, it could lead to charges of apostasy and a possible jail sentence.

Read on complete article here at Forbes.com

1 comment:

  1. Dhivehi Christian1:59 PM

    The Malaysian civil courts are afraid to make the only constitutional and statutory judgement over Lina Joy's case. That is allowing her to have her national identity card (Mykad) amended to show her religion as Christian. They know that if they allowed her case, then litarally thousands of Malaysians would file overnight to be recognised as mainly Christians in their Mykads. There is also the risk that it would jeopardise Malaysia's claim to be a majority Muslim country.

    Islam is a perverse death cult that forces its supposed adherents to remain in the cult. Iran is another example. People in that country are so fed up with Islam, if a secular government takes over there, it is likely that Iran would no longer be a Muslim country. Same would be true for the Maldives. If people know that leaving Islam would not result in any unfavourable repercussions, then only a very few diehard cultists would remain Muslims.

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