Friday, July 07, 2006

Is this where we're heading?

[Via the CT weblog (more stuff than you can ever digest in one sitting!)] In Malaysia, for someone to leave Islam, it requires the approval of the Shari'a (Syariah in Malay) courts. And, they've never given approval before. Islam can't be renounced at will.
Lina Joy cannot become an apostate at will as she is subjected to the dual legal system, namely the civil courts and the Syariah Courts as well as the Syariah laws practised in this country.

Senior Federal Counsel Datuk Umi Kalthum Abd Majid, who appeared for the Government and the NRD director-general, said this was because Lina is still a Muslim, unlike a non-Muslim who is only subjected to the civil courts.

“The issue of renunciation is a matter pertaining to the akidah (faith) of a Muslim transgressed into the realism of the Syariah Law, which needs serious consideration and proper interpretation of such laws,” she said.

“As such, only the Syariah Court and/or bodies are qualified to make such a determination.”
Well India is not Malaysia. Shari'a is not the law of the land. At least not a lot -- we have this ludicrious civil code, with separate laws for Hindus and Muslims and Christians and Parsis. And somehow, I feel, that the fanatics of Hindutva would like to see just such laws enacted in this secular, democratic republic. Oh wait. They have. They're called anti-conversion laws.

1 comment:

assiniboine said...

Though it does of course happen in Malaysia, with or without the imprimatur of the courts. There is an interesting economic disincentive to conversion away from Islam for Malays in that they lose their bumiputra status. (Non-Malay Muslims -- primarily Tamil -- don't have bumiputra status to begin with; orang asli -- aboriginal Malaysians -- North Borneo bumiputras tend not in large proportion to be Muslim). This means lining up with other non-bumiputras for places in schools and universities and for jobs and being paid less. Might not work in India where the overwhelming majority are Hindu, of course....