Lina Joy converted to Christianity 16 years ago. Now the Shari'a courts in Malaysia want to put her and her attorneys to death.
Malaysian Convert Receives Death Threats, Goes into Hiding
DUBLIN, August 25 (Compass Direct News) -- Lina Joy, a Malaysian convert to Christianity, has gone into hiding after extremists issued death threats against her and the lawyers supporting her cause.Malaysia has a secular contitution, but the heavy hand of Islamic totalitarianism will change that.
Escalating furor over the latest stage in Joy's lengthy struggle to change her religious status has led Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to order a halt to all public debate on the issue. Despite converting to Christianity 16 years ago, in 1990, Joy is still legally identified as a Muslim.
Joy, previously known as Azlina binti Jailani, requested a name change from the National Registration Department (NRD) in 1997. The NRD granted the name change in October 1999 but retained the Muslim status on her new identity card.
Malaysian law requires all Muslims to be declared as such on their identity cards; the religion of non-Muslims, however, is not specified.
When challenged, the NRD said it could not change Joy's religious status without a declaration from the Islamic law (sharia) court that she had become an "apostate."
Conversion out of Islam ("apostasy") is either forbidden or regarded as a criminal offense under most state Islamic laws. In Malaysia, "apostates" may be fined, detained and imprisoned.
For this reason, many Christian converts in Malaysia choose to remain secret converts.
Secular ConstitutionRead the whole thing to learn how someone must ask permission of an Islamic Shari'a court to convert away from Islam, and then face death for doing so.
The case is widely regarded as a watershed for religious freedom in Malaysia. If the court orders the NRD to drop the word "Islam" from Joy's identity card, the move would affirm the supremacy of the secular constitution.
Orthodox Muslims favor a status quo decision, however, affirming the supremacy of Islam.
"If they rule against Lina Joy, the whole question of religious liberty - the freedom of conscience, choice, expression and thought of an individual - will be greatly affected," the Rev. Wong Kim Kong, secretary general of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship of Malaysia, told reporters.
While some Muslim groups support more freedom for would-be converts, other groups are highly resistant. One group of Malaysian lawyers met on July 13 to establish a new association, Lawyers in Defense of Islam, to fight any loss of jurisdiction for the sharia court.
The Defenders of Islam (Front Pembela Islam, or FPI) is also planning a nationwide campaign to counter the use of civil courts as a "way out of Islam," according to Asia News.
Fearing civil unrest, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on July 25 ordered all public debate on religious issues - including forums organized by the 13-member Article 11 coalition - to cease immediately.
On Monday (August 21), the prime minister also recommended that four states that have not yet adopted laws to prevent the spread of other faiths among Muslims should draft them as soon as possible, the Bernama news agency reported. Those states are the Federal Territories, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak.
It is hard to imagine a more corrupt country than an Islamic country like Malaysia.
It is hard to imagine a more evil and murderous ideology than Islam. Yet, people still willingly risk death to convert to Christianity.