|I find Nathaniel Tan’s letter to editor (Malaysiakini) useful in understanding the issue of Lina Joy. I am reproducing it here for further discussion.I have, in my hands, a few cases of Muslim converts who wish to return to their previous religion. In that sense, their cases are slightly different from Lina who has renounced Islam ( a Malay who’s born as a Muslim). In my mind, I think they should be allowed to go back to their original religion.Even for Lina Joy, I really do not see the logic and reason to force her to stay as a Muslim. It’s pointless to keep a Muslim who has changed to other faith in his or her heart. I hold the the view that Lina should proceed to Syariah Courts to seek the permission to leave Islam. But to resolve cases similar to Lina in future, the Government must reform the Islam institutions in the country so that these institutions could handle such cases professionally. We do not need the courts to decide on conversion of religion, whether it’s Islam or other religions.But I do understand the strong feelings of some of my Muslim brothers and sisters. I know exactly where they were coming from.To them, they cannot accept a Muslim to leave Islam more of the fear factor (but you may argue that their fear was unfounded)rather than holding the view that Islam is a more superior religion. Yes, I do know that there were some who hold an extreme view that certain religion is more superior than other religion. But we do not have to agree with them.
I wish to tell all my Muslim brothers and sisters that there ‘s really no point to keep a Muslim if he or she has decided to embrace another religion.
My reasons are simply these:
1. All religions share the same root. We are all children of Abraham. All religions is ONE.
2. There’s no such thing as a superior religion.
3.Other Muslims would not leave Islam just because Lina Joy was allowed to leave Islam.
4. Freedom of religion should include freedom to join and freedom to leave a particular religion.
5.Many have left Islam in the past but more have embraced Islam at the same time.
6.Like other religions, Islam is a good religion.
7. People who have left Islam without condemning it should not be seen as apostles.
8. Only people who condemn the religion (Muslim or Non-Muslim) could be considered as apostles (of Islam) and this must not be allowed in this country. No one should condemn or belittle other’s religion.
9. Malaysia, as a multi-religious society, needs freedom of religion for real harmony and peace among the peoples of different faith.
The Prime Minister’s response on the Lina Joy’s case is pathetic. He just want to wash his hands and pretend that he has got nothing to do with it. He has once again failed to carry out his duty and responsibility as the prime minister of this country.
I hope bloggers could also give their views on this important issue. Please leave your comments with Colour-blind.
BTW, DAP will be holding a forum to discuss the case on 7 June 2007 in Petaling Jaya. Watch this blog closely for further details.
Lina Joy: Let’s not leap to polemics
|I refer to the malaysiakini report No joy for Lina.We can expect a lot of emotional responses to the recent ruling involving Lina Joy. In navigating the understandable amount of passion surrounding this issue, it is perhaps worth ensuring that the details of this judgement are properly understood for what they are.Many are likely to say that this is the death of freedom in religion in Malaysia, because Lina Joy was denied of her right to convert. A closer look reveals a slightly more textured landscape. By way of brief chronology:
It is important to realise that technically and theoretically (if nothing else), the road is still open for Lina to go to the Syariah courts, apply for recognition of her decision to renounce Islam, obtain it and live happily ever after.
Some make the argument, clearly not entirely without merit, that since Lina has renounced Islam, she should not in any way, shape or form have to submit herself to the jurisdiction of the Syariah under any circumstances as this would be subjecting a non-Muslim to Muslim laws.
Others yet (again, perhaps understandably) are extremely cynical about the chances of the Syariah courts actually granting such a controversial recognition of apostasy. The hardcore religious, after all, are likely to fear the ripple effect this may cause – a wave of mass apostasy being the biggest fear (founded or unfounded) of all.
Some might even see a political angle to this – where the ruling powers refuse to take any steps that would cost them Malay votes in a time where the non-Malay votes are swinging strongly against the government.
A ‘miracle’ decision by the Syariah court – should Lina decide to apply there – to allow her renunciation might be a relatively successful compromise. It would appease some of the more religious parties who hold the Syariah in such high esteem, and espouse its ability to dispense justice fairly to non-Muslims (as in their much touted case of Nyonya Tahir), while essentially granting Lina the fundamental right to convert.
In any case, it would be extremely mature of us to see the judgement for what it is and not be too quick to condemn it for what it is not (or what it isn’t yet). If we are to criticise it, which is our inherent right, let us be clear on what we are debating, rather than leap to polemics.
|PM: Don’t be emotional over Joy decision|
|Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today urged for an open mind and rational thinking from everyone over the recent decision in Lina Joy’s case.“If we allow ourselves to be overcome by emotion, we will begin to have all kinds of thoughts; we will have suspicions about this and that,” he was quoted as saying in Bernama.
He also said that his government had played no role or brought any influence on the decision of the Federal Court.
“That is the decision of the court; I don’t question them,” he said after chairing an Umno Supreme Council meeting today.
Yesterday, the highest court in the country ruled on a 2-1 majority to dismiss Lina’s appeal to to have the word “Islam” removed from her identity card.
Lina, 43, had claimed to have renounced Islam to embrace Christianity 17 years ago.
The court however ruled that Lina had to obtain a certificate of apostasy from the Syariah Court before the National Registration Department could drop the word “Islam” from her identity card.
Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and Federal Court Judge Alauddin Mohd Sherif dismissed her appeal while Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum dissented.
No religious divide
Asked if the Federal Court decision would cause a religious divide in the country, Abdullah said: “I don’t think there is a divide although the discussion on religion becomes more widespread.”
Bernama also reported that at the press conference, Abdullah also dismissed a suggestion from a foreign journalist that Islamic law was now above the Federal Constitution in the country.
“There is no such thing (of Islamic law being above the Federal Constitution). The Federal Constitution is the Federal Constitution.
“There is a set of laws we have to follow. It is something that we have to follow, that’s all,” he said.