The Lina Joy Case - Apostasy in Malaysia

"Note of Protest" from Concil of Christians, Buddhists, Hindus etc. - 19/06/07
"The Note of Protest highlights the personal tragedies of various ordinary Malaysians suffering anguish as a result, in one way or another, of the misuse of religion e.g. persons who are treated as “Muslims” against their will, some who are being detained for “rehabilitation” merely because they want the Government to recognise their choice of religion and women (and men) who are faced with the loss of their children merely because of the religious conversion by one spouse." Læs mere.

"A Hindu Lina Joy, subjected to Islamic “re-education”". - 15/06/07
!On June 19 in Kuala Lumpur a night time prayer vigil will be held to draw public attention to the case of Ravathi, a woman of Indian origins who is currently being held in a detention centre after the state refused to recognise her religious status as a Hindu." Læs mere

Lina Joy affair sparks apostasy debate among Muslims - - 12/06/07
"Legal experts and Islamic scholars and leaders square off before a large audience in a public debate over the conflict that pits Sharia against civil law in conversion cases. Some believe the issue has not been settled since the Qur’an is silent as to how apostasy should be punished and that what punishment that does exist “is man-made”."  Read more.

Religious Conversion and Sharia Law by Lionel Beehner - Council on Foreign Relations 08/06/07
"Malaysia is often held up as a model nation that blends modern secular institutions with a tolerant brand of Islam. Sharia, or Islamic law, is followed but in the context of a constitutional framework. A recent decision, however, by Malaysia’s high court refusing to recognize a Muslim woman’s conversion to Christianity has called into question the country’s freedom of religion and multi-faith identity. Similar cases in Afghanistan, Egypt, and Jordan also have aroused concern among Western-based rights groups about Islam’s compatibility with democracy." Read more.

We Are Not A Tribe Called ‘Muslims’ - by Farish A. Noor - The Other Malaysia - 08/06/07
"This reminds me of the words of the late Nurcholish Madjid, the most prominent Muslim intellectual of postcolonial 20th century Indonesia. He once said that "we Muslims still cannot go beyond the logic of tribalism, and we think that being a Muslim is like belonging to a tribe called ‘Muslims’. Muslims still think in these parochial, tribalist terms, and that is why when one person leaves Islam he or she is denouced as a traitor to the tribe. But Islam is not a tribal entity. Being a Muslim is not like belonging to the Blue Tribe or the Green Tribe; it is a state of mind, an existential state of being."  Read more.

Religious, Ethnic Tensions Threaten to Blow the Lid Off Malaysia’s Melting Pot - World Politics Review - 04/06/07
"Often praised as a model pluralistic society, Malaysia is showing signs of increased religious tension, and many wonder whether Kuala Lumpur's reluctance to protect non-Muslims' rights could lead to serious problems. Non-Muslims make up roughly 40 percent of Malaysia's 26 million people, and among them follow Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Confucianism and Taoism." Read more.

Malaysia's sad retreat. TheStar.Com - 03/06/07
"She cannot at her own whim simply enter or leave her religion," says Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim. "She must follow rules." Yet the rule is a Catch-22 in that a Muslim-turned-Christian must appeal to an Islamic court more likely to punish her than to approve apostasy. ... Malaysia is not the only Muslim country to subordinate freedom of conscience to religion. Many do. Saudi Arabia prohibits conversion from Islam. In Afghanistan, a Muslim was threatened with the death penalty for renouncing the faith. And a few years ago, Jordan convicted a Muslim for converting." Read more.

Angela C. Wu, "A Show of Bad Faith". The Wall Street Journal 01/06/07
"As Islamist protestors’ shouts of “Allah-o-Akbar” echoed through Putrajaya’s Palace of Justice, the Malaysian Federal Court Wednesday reaffirmed that religion is determined by court orders and not personal conscience. The two-to-one landmark decision by the country’s highest court marks a monumental setback to religious freedom and human rights in Malaysia, a secular country increasingly influenced by Islamism."  Read more.

Malaysia’s Lina Joy loses Islam conversion case - Washington Post / Reuter 30/5/07
"Malaysia's best known Christian convert, Lina Joy, lost a six-year battle on Wednesday to have the word "Islam" removed from her identity card, after the country's highest court rejected the change. ... Malaysia's Council of Churches was saddened. "We still go by the possibility that the constitution allows any citizen of the country to exercise his or her right to choose a religion and practice it," council secretary Rev. Hermen Shastri said outside the court."I don't think this decision is going to stop an individual from exercising that right for whatever reason."" Read more.

Kuala Lumpur refuses to recognise Lina Joy’s conversion to Christianity - 30/05/´07
"The Federal Court has referred the case of Lina Joy, a women seeking legal recognition of her conversion from Islam, to the Islamic courts. The country’s contradicting laws are laid bare: religious freedom guaranteed by the Constitution cannot co-exist with Islamic law, which is increasingly imposed on the nation’s citizen’s even non-Muslims." Read more.

Wikipedia: Lina Joy
"Lina Joy is a Malay convert from Islam to Christianity. Born Azlina Jailani in 1964 in Malaysia to Muslim parents, she converted at age 26. In 1998, she was baptized, and applied to have her conversion legally recognized by the Malaysian courts. Though her change of name was recognized in 1999 and so noted on her identity card, her change of religion was not (since it is without the Mahkamah Syariah confirmation document); for this reason, she filed suit with the High Court in 1999, bypassing the Syariah Court (Islamic court). She later filed suit with the Federal Court in 2006. Joy hopes to live openly as a Christian; she was forced to go into hiding by the publicity surrounding her case." Read more.