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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/15/2014 (7 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Islamic courts remain sole place for Malaysians who wish to leave Islam

In the South Asian nation of Malaysia, those who wish to leave Islam - or no longer wish to be associated with Islam - can go to court to have their status changed. There is a catch: Malaysians must make their cases known in courts where Sharia law is in effect - and face prison, fines, whippings and even a death sentence for doing so. 

Sharia Courts have reportedly only approved a total of 135 out of 686 applications by Muslims seeking to change their religious status for the 2000-2010 period.

Sharia Courts have reportedly only approved a total of 135 out of 686 applications by Muslims seeking to change their religious status for the 2000-2010 period.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/15/2014 (7 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Malaysia, Sharia Courts, conversion, deisgnation


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Department of Syariah Judiciary Malaysia, or JKSM in a recent newspaper interview said that the Islamic courts are the only place according to current laws for Malaysians seeking to be no longer known as Muslim.

The department identified two types of applications at the Sharia courts. One is to renounce Islam, and secondly for a declaration that one is no longer Muslim.

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For the former, practicing Muslims -- regardless of ethnicity who want to renounce Islam and convert to other faiths, could not be found for the department.

For the second type of application, JKSM puts these applicants into three categories: The first subgroup are those mistakenly listed as Muslims because of naming conventions, typically involving residents of Sabah and Sarawak.

Another group covers those who embraced Islam but now wish to revert to being non-Muslims, which includes applicants who had converted when marrying a Muslim but want out of the religion after the marriage fails.

The last includes non-practicing Muslims who want to be recognized as non-Muslims. This third group cuts across ethnicity. This designation includes those who were born as Muslims and "by virtue of the documents are Muslims, but never practice the religion of Islam," it said.

Children from an initial non-Muslim marriage who were unilaterally converted by one of the parents who had converted to Islam also fall within this third group. These children may apply personally to be recognized as non-Muslims once they are 18 years old.

Sharia Courts have reportedly only approved a total of 135 out of 686 applications by Muslims seeking to change their religious status for the 2000-2010 period.

There is "no penalty" and no mandatory counseling session if the Sharia court rejects the application, while applicants also have the right to appeal, - JKSM said.

However -- five states in Malaysia have laws that prohibit apostasy or attempted apostasy. "Apostasy" in a Muslim nation means choosing to embrace a different religious faith.

Those found guilty of attempted apostasy will be detained in Islamic Rehabilitation Centers until they repent or for up to 36 months, while those in Malacca would face up to six months of detention in such centers.

Those who were raised in a professing Muslim family and choose to convert to Christianity face horrid opposition.  So much for religious freedom in Muslim Nations.

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