Malaysia is often held up as a model of the modern and moderate Islamic democracy. But it's looking less moderate with each passing day, especially for its non-Muslim population. Last week we heard about Lina Joy, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity and who now faces death threats. "Lina has tried unsuccessfully for years to get Malaysia’s National Registration Department to remove Muslim status from her identity papers." Under shari'a law, leaving the Islamic faith is apostasy and it's illegal. Shari'a law applies to all Muslims in Malaysia, and as they see it, once a Muslim, always a Muslim! Lina's case is currently in the Federal Court system, but she, her husband and their lawyers (one is a Muslim) are in hiding due to the constant death threats. From Asia News:
"Given the situation the lives of those who are spearheading the difficult fight for religious freedom in Malaysia are at risk, the lives of people like human rights lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who has been an observer at the appeal trial for the Malaysian Bar Council, and whose face now appears in a ‘Wanted Dead’ poster. The message that came with the photo was no less clear: “This is the face of the traitorous lawyer to Islam who supports the Lina Joy apostasy case. Distribute to our friends so they can recognize this traitor. If you find him dead by the side of the road, do not help.” "
Michelle Malkin has lots more info on this case.
An article earlier this week in The International Herald Tribune looked at the "creeping Islamicization in Malaysia:
"Those who want to maintain the country's secular roots are fighting what they call creeping Islamicization. Muslim women who at the time of independence often wore silky, tight-fitting outfits today do not leave the house without a head scarf, which is now also required for female police officers of all religions during official functions. Muslim prayers are piped into the loudspeakers of government offices in the new administrative capital, Putrajaya. And Islamic police officers routinely arrest unmarried couples for "close proximity."
"I see the writing on the wall," said Ivy Josiah, the director of the Women's Aid Organization, a group that lobbies the government on women's issues. "It's only a matter of time before Malaysia becomes another Taliban state."
Hmmm, and this in a country which is only 50% Muslim. However, Islam is the country's official religion as guaranteed in the Constitution. The federal Constitution also "forbids people from spreading religions other than Islam to the Muslims." Huh!
"Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz wants the constitutional law which forbids others to spread religions other than Islam to the Muslims to be streamlined nationwide. He said the state of Sarawak, Sabah, Federal Territory and Penang had yet to adopt the law. Mohamed Nazri said the law must be included in the constitutions of the four states, saying that failure to do so would be inconsistent with the Federal Constitution."
I.e., non-Muslims will not be allowed to proselytize in Malaysia. Silly Prime Minister! Doesn't he know that "there is no compulsion in religion" in the Koran?
UPDATE: Ahh, the joys of blogging and blogging toys like SiteMeter. I get to see how people come here, and thereby get introduced to international blogs, such as Maobi from Malaysia. Maobi has been having "Carnivals of Joy" for over a week now, and he (?) lists dozens and dozens of blogs, starting here. Great way to get all the angles on this travesty, especially from other Malaysians. Such a world we live in!