Monday, May 28, 2007

Malaysian Christian Tests Islamic Law

WaPo reported Lina Joy has been disowned by her family, shunned by friends and forced into hiding 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
Update: She lost. They decided against her. A three-judge panel ruled that only the country's Sharia Court could let Azlina Jailani, now known as Lina Joy, remove the word Islam from her identity card. Malaysia's constitution guarantees freedom of worship but says all ethnic Malays are Muslim. Under Sharia law, Muslims are not allowed to convert.... Malaysia's Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said the panel endorsed legal precedents giving Islamic Sharia courts jurisdiction over cases involving Muslims who want to convert. About 200 protesters shouted "Allah-o-Akbar" (God is great)
How great could Allah be if a person cannot change their mind about whether to stay in Islam? Maybe Allah is not God after all, but is Satan.
outside the court when the ruling was announced.
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 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.
I pray that the decision favors Joy, but I fear it will not.
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 category.
Apparently you can reject a Muslim name, but not the Muslim faith, even though Surah 2:256 says “There is no compulsion in religion"
Joy, who was born Azlina Jailani, appealed the decision to a civil court but was told she must take it to sharia courts, which handle Islamic issues. But Joy, 42, has argued that she should not be bound by Islamic law because she is a Christian.
Sounds reasonable to me. Democrats, would you not agree that if a Republican decided they wanted to become a Democrat (I don't know why they would, but let us pretend), should they not have a right to do that, or should it be up to the Republican party?
Subsequent appeals ruled that the sharia court should decide the case. The highest court, the Federal Court, will make the final decision on whether Muslims who renounce their faith must still answer to Islamic courts. About 60 percent of Malaysia's 25 million citizens are Muslim, and their civil, family, marriage and personal rights are decided by sharia courts. The minorities -- the ethnic Chinese, Indians and other smaller communities -- are governed by civil courts.
And if the Federal Court rules that one can leave Islam, that 60% Muslim majority may shrink.
But the constitution does not say who has the final word 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. "Our country is at a crossroad," said Benjamin Dawson, Joy's attorney. "Are we evolving into an Islamic state or are we going to maintain the secular character of the constitution?"
I will be praying for you.
The founding fathers of Malaysia deliberately left the constitution vague, unwilling to upset any of the three ethnic groups dominant at the time of independence from Britain 50 years ago, when the goal was to build a peaceful, multiracial country.
Two of the three would not resort to violence if they were upset; I wish I could say the same about the third.
... Some Muslim groups say Joy is questioning the position of Islam by taking the case to civil courts. "It is not about one person, it is about challenging the Islamic system in Malaysia," said Muslim Youth Movement President Yusri Mohammad, who set up a coalition of 80 Islamic groups to oppose Joy's case. "By doing this openly, she is encouraging others to do the same. It may open the floodgates to other Muslims, because once it is a precedent, it becomes an option."
And that is what you fear. Islam must really be a terrible faith if the only way they can keep members is by forbidding them to lleave, and either putting them in jail, or killing them, if they do not stay.
Robert Spencer blogged Islam is a room with no exit door, and they're proud of it.

Hugh Fitzgerald blogged During the Cold War Russian dissidents would say to visiting foreigners: "Yes, the Soviet Union is indeed vast. You can go 3,000 miles up and down, and 6,000 miles across. But what happens when you come to the end of those 3,000 miles down? Or those 6,000 miles across? You still can't get out. You still are stuck."

That is Islam. You can't get out. You are not allowed the mental freedom to leave. If Islam did not promote the habit of mental submission, severe limits on artistic expression, hatred of, and war-making upon Infidels, the deliberate infliction of a state of permanent humiliation, degradation, and physical insecurity on Infidels, if it did none of those awful things, but only -- only -- prevented those born into Islam from leaving Islam, that alone would entitle us to see it as a totalitarian and cruel belief-system, and to regard it with permanent wariness and worry.

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