Friday, June 01, 2007

Freedom of Belief and Lina Joy.

Articles upon articles in Malaysiakini and other online media are dedicated to this story. Not surprisingly, Malaysiakini is the most vocal in its criticism of the High Court decision of Lina Joy vs Registration Dept. What do we expect? The law of the land in Malaysia say so, what I dont understand is, why Lina Joy choose this method?
She could simply migrate to some Western country and not an iota would appear in the media.

Let me elaborate further by telling some true story.
I personally know at least 3 women who left Islam, two of them Malay women. As in Lina Joy case, the story has some similarity.
Lina Joy met a Christian fellow, fall in love, become convinced of Christianity and 'murtad'. Read that she left Islam at age of 36, presumably not married ie single before then.
Someone I know, a Malay woman, in this city where I live (let us call her Mrs C) was first married to a Mat Salleh convert and migrate here years ago. Things didnt go well, and they divorced. She 'menjanda' for a few years, then met a Catholic guy, who is deeply religious. Then one day Mrs C saw apparition of Jesus at home, she become confused, started believing in it and 'sujud' at the apparition and asking Allah to show the correct path. The apparition appear again and Mrs C become convinced that Jesus is God. Next she went to church and convert to Catholicism. That was the story told to me. I do not need to elaborate further explanations from Islamic faith.
Another Malay woman, married a Mat Salleh army personnel years ago and migrate here. After a few years, she got divorced, 'menjanda' and got hooked up with another Mat Salleh. She become Catholic and married at a church.
A Fijian Indian woman from a Muslim family just died 2-3 days ago. She married a Mat Salleh, who hasnt convert to Islam. When she almost dying, 'nazak' at the hospital, we were confused when Hare Krishna people come visiting and offer prayers. Then they confided that She had converted to Hinduism and went to Hare Krishna temple for prayers.
Notice the similarity?
They all in thirst of LOVE. The Christians, Catholics and whatever denominations all offer LOVE and spread the message of love, 'Jesus love you' among other things. Lina Joy was 36 when she convert, I assume that she was an 'andartu' then, had never found love and destined to enter prime years as virgin, never had loving relationship with any man. Until she met that Christian fellow.

So whose fault is it that some Malays convert to Christianity or any other religion? We must look at ourselves, our Islamic institutions and the way we do things in Malaysia.
My Islamic knowledge is limited, I have a lot to learn but I can offer to shed some views.
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w encourage us to get married as soon as possible, if we are able. But we Malaysian Muslims put barriers, we set up rules such as exams (yes Muslim couples have to attend course and pass test before they can apply to get married!), dowry and whatever.
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w encourage polygamy, up to four. Yet we set up rules to discourage this, and in the age of many, many more women than men, we have surplus women who end up as 'andartu'.
I know those rules were set up with good intention, BUT ALLAH KNOWS BEST. Allah is All Knowing.
Think about it!

31/05: Shadow cast over similar cases of apostasy
Category: General Posted by: Raja Petra
Muslim groups hail ruling on Lina Joy's appeal but non-Muslims call it a setback

By Carolyn Hong, Malaysia Bureau Chief
The Straits Times

IT WAS a grim day yesterday for Ms Lina Joy, who lost her six-year legal battle to have her conversion from Islam to Christianity recognised.

But it was an equally grim day for at least six other Muslim women who have similar cases pending in the lower civil courts.

They were eagerly awaiting the outcome of this case, seen as a test for religious freedom in Malaysia.

But the judgment did not bring cheer for them.

The Federal Court decided in a 2-1 ruling yesterday that Ms Lina could not have the word 'Islam' deleted from her identity card without first obtaining a certificate of apostasy from the Syariah Court.

But that could prove difficult as the Syariah Court is reluctant to allow it, and some states have also criminalised apostasy.

So far, it is believed that only 15 to 20 Muslims have been allowed to leave Islam officially through the Syariah Court, according to lawyer Pawancheek Merican.

Mr Pawancheek heads Defenders of Islam, a coalition of 80 Muslim non-governmental organisations, which was set up following a spate of religious disputes that have strained race relations in Malaysia.

To some non-Muslims, yesterday's judgment spelt a setback for religious freedom in Malaysia.

'I think it's a major blow,' opposition politician Lim Kit Siang was quoted as saying by Reuters.

'It casts a large shadow on civil liberties and the constitutional rights of Malaysians.'

But Muslim groups hailed it as upholding the special position of Islam in Malaysia and reaffirming the social construct of the country, which gives the Malays and Islam a more prominent position.

The influential Malaysian Muslim Youth Movement said Malaysians should now 'modify their expectations' in line with the realities of the country's social fabric.

'We invite anyone who is aggrieved to use other less confrontational approach towards change and reform,' said its president, Mr Yusri Mohamad.

In law, there is one major point in the judgment which will cast a long shadow over pending cases - the court's ruling on the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court vis-a-vis the civil courts.

Malaysia has a parallel justice system for family and religious matters - the civil court for non-Muslims, and Syariah Court for Muslims.

But there is frequently a tussle in grey areas such as apostasy where the party refuses to submit to the Syariah Court as they have left Islam, or when disputes involve both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Of late, many have turned to the civil courts for redress, but the courts have consistently declined to hear them.

One example is the case of the late M. Moorthy, a soldier who died in 2005 after converting to Islam. His Hindu widow fought the Islamic religious authorities for his body as she insisted that he was Hindu.

The civil court refused to hear her case, saying it was a matter for the Syariah Court.

Mrs Moorthy has filed an appeal in the civil Court of Appeal for her husband's body to be exhumed and cremated according to Hindu rites. This is pending.

The Lina Joy judgment on the jurisdictional issue will have vast implications for this case and other future cases, said lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar.

Mr Malik, who has handled many such cases, said the Federal Court had decided in Ms Lina's case that the Syariah Court could have jurisdiction by 'necessary implication'.

This is because the law does not specifically stipulate that the Syariah Court has jurisdiction over apostasy.

Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, who delivered the main judgment, said the Syariah Court had such powers by necessary implication.

'It is logical that the Syariah Court, which has jurisdiction over those embracing Islam, will by implication also deal with the issues of leaving Islam or apostasy,' he said.

Mr Malik said this could mean that the Syariah Court can take jurisdiction over any matter relating to Islam, and this can be a vast area.

It could have an impact on the Moorthy case, and on the case of Mrs R. Subashini, a Hindu who is fighting to stop her estranged husband, who converted to Islam last year, from converting their youngest son.

Her appeal to the Federal Court is pending after a lower civil court said she had to seek redress from the Syariah Court.

But Mr Malik hopes these cases might, in fact, provide the opportunity to revisit this issue of jurisdiction.

'I don't think the issue is closed,' he said.

But another lawyer, Mr Leonard Teoh, who has been monitoring the trial for several non-Muslim NGOs, thinks the next step has to be a political one.

'In the interest of racial and religious harmony, something needs to be done,' he said.


Anonymous said...

I hv 2 points of contention to yr statement ie 1.the law of the land says so and 2.why not just leave malaysia.
1.The law of the land does not say the sharia is supreme to the constitution.The constitution is the final judging authority.The judiciary in Msia fails to interpret this correctly as was stated by the AG who amended this article 121(is it??)This ping pong game has to stop!chief justice ahmad fairuz based his argument on NRD has the right to ask defendant to get sharia court involved.while judge richard malanjums argument was based on Article 11 and most importantly the constitution.Is the constitution or the NRD has a higher authority?
Read both the judgements and conclude but remember the constitution is the supreme law of the country if not pls demand all thieves,murderers,rapist are tried by sharia and punished accordingly,hands and limbs chopped off etc...and put lina joy to death.
2.why should she leave?why should anyone leave?it has constitutional and judicial implications.sweeping dirt under the carpet does not solve the mess.

The truth is above all but higher still is truthful living.

Anonymous said...

Do you realise that people have their right to choose their religion? Let's say someone want to convert to Islam in a Christian country. But the Christian law said cannot and force that person to stay as Christian. May I know what do you think? You did not think from both side. You're typical Malay and Muslim that I see everyday. Please change your mindset. I think its corrupted by Uztaz from Kampung.

Anonymous said...

Yep, Lina Joy screwed up since the day she decided to bring this matter to civil court. Follow the procedure girl. Go to Syariah court!.

Unnecessary havoc. Read the book first la..

Anonymous said...

"Prophet Muhammad s.a.w encourage polygamy, up to four. Yet we set up rules to discourage this, and in the age of many, many more women than men, we have surplus women who end up as 'andartu'."

Are you sure you can use the word "encourage" there? With the emphasize on being just, think it is a lot harder then getting only one. You are obviously a man;). And please do some research, here in M'sia, statistic of man and woman at marriage-able age is almost 50-50. There is some other major prob to look at, not simply "many, many more women than men". Women are getting higher in education, career for. eg.

nooryahaya said...

heck, why everyone being anonymous?

Anonymous said...

heck...everyone is anonymous because;

1. ISA
2. You allow them to be anonymous while you have the power to block anonymous.

The power is yours! Macam bunyi iklan lak :)

dani said...

if im not mistaken she was 26 when she converts to Christianity

1990 - 26 years old

X said...

People are anonymous because the Muslims love to hand out death threats and fatwas to anyone who comments on their religion. Wake up to freedom guys, stop bitchin about who murtad and who is saudara baru..just jaga tepi kain sendiri!

Anonymous said...

True true. Muslim just love to kill kill kill. Just look at how 300 people outside Lina Joy court. Just look at reaction when cartoon depict Nabi Muhammmad S.A.W. All so violence.

Anonymous said...

anonymous...muslim like to kill, kill?

If that is true, Lina Joy should have been killed by a fundamentalist terrorist extremist jihadis whateva muslim long2 time ago.

Stop your nonsense comments.

Christian, Hindhus, Jews all have their own extremist. Have you heard the crusaders? have you heard the Hindu's extremist in India? Have you heard IRA? Have you heard Slobodan Milosevic?

But shall we blame the religion? I dont think so!

Anonymous said...

Dear X,

Islam is not like other religion where you can "jaga tepi kain sendiri" :)

Have you heard the concept of "ummah", "ukhuwwah", "zakat"? If not go to Wiki! and stop bitching about Islam :)sorry for following your style of writing...

captain caveman said...

firstly sorry for the anon im quite knew to this bloggin stuff...i am anon number 1, first posting..
dear kociriemann.....
hv you read understood "other" religions...most religions talk abt universal humanity own religions advocates betterment for the sake of all humans..what ever you are..
i dont know if islam advocates justice for the ummah only or all the human race,you know better..
u r free to counter allegations made by others...using thought provoking and fact based analysis..
don't be like them !

i hve blabbed too would be good to stick to the main topic of discussion here.....the constitutional issue..nothing else,nothing more..
but u decide..

The truth is above all but higher still is truthful living

nooryahaya said...

let me remember, correct me if i miss anything or wrong.
Duty of a Muslim;
1. duty to Allah
2. duty to oneself
3. duty to parents
4. duty to fellow Muslim
5. duty to mankind

kaki.ayam said...

I think you should post this to all to see....then people will know what islam teaches, maybe the whole world already knows...just that the typical muslim are still in the dark...

" ...let me remember, correct me if i miss anything or wrong.
Duty of a Muslim;
1. duty to Allah
2. duty to oneself
3. duty to parents
4. duty to fellow Muslim
5. duty to mankind.............."

For me, duty as a Christian -
Faith in God, and with faith comes work or duty to mankind.
Sorry babe, mankind here means mankind - no segregation of classes, types, faiths, parents and race. See the difference?
By the way, duty for oneself is ...well shouldn't be in the picture at all...

No wonders you guys respond to the NEP like God given rezeki.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr caveman,

Islam on top of discussing universal humanity values also deals with the intricates and complexities of life. ISlam offer justice for muslim and non muslim as evidenced by the fairness shown by many Muslim great leaders towards non muslim christians, jews etc.

Islam never fight for equalities but rather Fairness and Justice. Thats why in Islam human rights are clearly stated what for woman, what for man, what for wives what for husbands, what for muslims and what for non-muslims. What for you and what for neighbour. What are the rights of people and what are for the Leaders.

Thats why when Muslims says Islam is the way of life. We really mean it. When we say Islam is the only way of life that can lead you to success in this world and hereafter, we really mean it as well. So when one of our brother or sister decided to leave this path, we are really concerned.

To put it in simple words...if one of your family member decided to take drugs are you gonna let him/her to doom her life by exercizing his/her right to choose?

For Lina Joy's case, my advice is the same as what the Court has decided. Lina, go to Syariah court and get proper advice and councelling. If you really want to leave Islam after the advices and discussion...i believe the Syariah court will give you the "apostate certificate". And you can live your life..maybe happily in this world but i'm afraid in the life of hereafter.

Anonymous said...

Dear all,

I have always question...why the fuss of all this religion conversion? The constitutional clearly stated freedom of religion.. a muslim decides to convert to be it..a Christian decides to convert to be it..a Hindu decides to convert to be it. It's up to the person given his or her will to convert to a particular religion. But why certain people just don't GET it!

And Mr Kociriemann,

As foolishly decent you might appear to be on first impression, you have proven to be low in giving a comparision to a Muslim converting to another religion to a ridiculous example of 'children resorting to drugs'.. as if!! and no.. I;m not going to compare what or which religion is superior or inferior than the other...

But please..for decency sake, don't for ever once think that you can simply inferiorized one's religion just to proved so hard of your religion.

So so so annoyed with Kociri what man.