No, you cannot convert: Three cheers for sharia!
Last August, I wrote about the plight of an ex-Muslim woman in Malaysia named Lina Joy. She had converted to Christianity and wanted to marry a Christian man. As the Abdul Rahman case made chillingly clear to the world, there are dire consequences for leaving Islam. Joy bravely went to court to stop being identified as a Muslim–and earned death threats and family disavowal for her apostasy. Now, the verdict is in. Sharia wins, Lina Joy loses:
“You can’t at whim and fancy convert from one religion to another,” Federal Court Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said in delivering judgment in the case, which has stirred religious tensions in the mainly Muslim nation.
The ruling was greeted by shouts of “God is great” from many in the assembled crowd outside the Palace of Justice in Kuala Lumpur…The Joy verdict, which will likely become a precedent for several other pending conversion cases, is seen by many in Malaysia as evidence of how religious politics are cleaving the nation, with a creeping Islamization undermining the rights of both non-Muslims and more moderate adherents to Islam. Last November, at a party conference for the Muslim-dominated United Malays National Organization ruling party, one delegate vowed he would be willing to “bathe in blood” to defend his ethnicity — and, by extension, his religion. In several Malaysian states, forsaking Islam is a crime punishable by prison time.
“This decision violates international law and stands in wrongheaded defiance of the universal human right to religious freedom,” said Angela Wu, International Director for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who attended a hearing for Ms. Joy and has testified before the United States Congress on anti-conversion laws. “International law and the Malaysia Constitution guarantee the right to choose your own religious beliefs and change those beliefs according to your conscience. Today the Federal Court made it clear that if the state says you are a Muslim, those rights don’t apply to you. Unfortunately, for Lina Joy, a universal human right has been trumped by the state’s insistence that she bow to sharia law.”
I ask again, as I asked last summer: Where are the feminists? Oh, and how about CAIR? Or our State Department?
Or shall we all just pretend Lina Joy does not exist and sing “Kumbaya?”
Reader Paul e-mails: “Sorry Michelle, but singing Kumbaya probably wouldn’t be allowed under Sharia law.”
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