Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Malaysian Apostasy - Lina Joy

Malaysian Apostasy: Lina Joy
Muslims must affirm the freedom of faith

We invite you to sign your name as your support.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq -
Mike Mohamed Ghouse –
Websites: and

Malaysian Apostasy Case
Muslims must affirm the freedom of faith

The news about Malaysia's civil court to defer the case of Lina Joy [formerly a Muslim, Azlina Jailani] to the Shariah court is deplorable.

Qur'aan: al-Baqarah 002:256 "Let there be no compulsion in religion.”
We believe that, we have to honor the life given by Allah to Lina Joy and grant her the freedom to practice her faith. Qur'aan: al-Kafirun 109:006 "To you your religion, and to me my religion"

We believe that, God is the master of the Day of Judgment, he alone we worship and he is the only one who can judge us on that appointed day. Qur'aan: al-Fatihah 001:004 "Master of the Day of Judgment" and 001:005 "You alone we worship; You alone we ask for help."

Freedom of faith means not only freedom to choose a faith, but also freedom to change one's faith. While Islam regards apostasy a grave sin, but that is between God and the respective individual. When it is a matter of simple apostasy, i.e, merely changing one's faith without any aggression or treason against an Islamic State or Muslims, the principle of freedom of faith in Islam requires that such apostate must be allowed to exercise their God-given freedom.

The traditional position, which seems to have been the basis for the Malaysian civil court to defer the matter to the Shariah court, is based on unwarrantedly mixing the matter of simple apostasy with treason or aggression. An encouraging thing is that the tide of opinion among Muslims is turning away from the traditional view to one that is in consonance with the message of the Qur'an and the legacy of the Prophet Muhammad.

Now, there is dedicated blog regarding the issue of apostasy and Islam, which presents a more contemporary position of Muslim scholars, academics and even Imams affirming the freedom of faith and the freedom to change one's faith, when it involves simple apostasy, not apostasy-cum-treason. Please visit

There is no worldly punishment or consequence specified in the Qur'an regarding simple apostasy. Indeed, the affirmation of freedom of faith in the Qur'an is explicit. There is also no precedence during the time of the Prophet that anyone was punished solely for apostasy.

While there might be questions or issues about the traditional view, Muslims are to seek guidance and uphold the teachings of the Qur'an and the legacy of the Prophet.

While we as Muslims invite our sister-in-humanity Lina Joy [Azlina Jailani] back to Islam, we unequivocally urge Malaysian government, court and the people to affirm the freedom of faith in Islam and not to stand in the way of her exercising her God-given freedom.

For more information about the issue of apostasy and Islam, please visit Also, Muslims (especially, scholars, intellectuals, academics, imams, professionals) are urged read a Statement presented at the blog and be counted among the signatories affirming the freedom of faith in Islam.


1. Mike Ghouse, World Muslim Congress -
2. Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq, Apostasy and Islam –
3. Your name, affiliation....will be added. Send your email to

The story:

Malaysia rejects Muslim convert's bid to be recognized as Christian

The Associated Press

Published: May 29, 2007

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia: Malaysia's top civil court rejected a Muslim woman's appeal to be recognized as a Christian on Wednesday, in a landmark case that tested the limits of religious freedom in the moderate Islamic country.

A three-judge Federal Court panel ruled by a 2-1 majority that only the Islamic Shariah Court has the power to allow Lina Joy, who converted to Christianity in 1998, to remove the word "Islam" from the religion category on her government identity card.

"This appeal is rejected," Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said. "Apostasy is a matter linked to Islamic laws. It's under the jurisdiction of the Shariah court ... Civil courts cannot interfere."

"She cannot simply at her own whims enter or leave her religion," Judge Ahmad Fairuz said. "She must follow rules."

The ruling is likely to drive another wedge in the Malaysian society which has become increasingly polarized in recent years with Buddhist, Christian and Hindu minorities complaining that their religious rights are held hostage to Islam. Muslim groups that say Islam is under threat because of people like Joy hailed the verdict.

Dozens of Muslims gathered outside the domed court house in the administrative capital of Putrajaya, and shouted "Allahu akbar," or "God is great," when they heard about the verdict.

Judge Richard Malanjum, the only non-Muslim on the panel, sided with Joy, saying it was "unreasonable" to ask her to turn to the Islamic Shariah court because she could face criminal prosecution for apostasy there.

He said the constitution was the supreme law of the land and Joy — who was not present at Wednesday's hearing — should have the freedom to choose her religion.

Joy is "extremely disappointed" with the verdict, said her lawyer, Benjamin Dawson. She has not decided on the next course of action, he told The Associated Press. Joy can either remain a Muslim, go to the Shariah court or leave the country.

Joy, 43, was born a Muslim and named Azlina Jailani by her parents. In 1998, the National Registration Department granted her request for a name change on her government identity card but refused to drop Muslim from the religion column.

She appealed the decision to a civil court but was told she must take it to Shariah courts. A series of rejected appeals brought her case finally to the Federal Court, with Joy arguing all along that she should not be bound by Shariah law because she is a Christian.

If Joy insists on practicing Christianity now, she could be charged with apostasy — the abandonment of a faith or belief. In Malaysia, the offense is punishable by fines and jail sentences. Offenders are often sent to prison-like rehabilitation centers.

Joy's case is the most prominent in a recent series of religious disputes, some involving the custody of children born to parents of different faiths, and one involving a deceased Hindu man who converted to Islam without his family's knowledge and whom Islamic authorities ordered to be buried as a Muslim.

Muslim Youth Movement President Yusri Mohammad praised the verdict.

"We fully believe justice has been served," he said.

But others said the verdict failed to protect religious rights.

"It's a major blow and a grievous setback to Malaysia as a secular nation," opposition politician Lim Kit Siang said. "It has cast shadows over fundamental liberties and civil rights in the country."

The Rev. Hermen Shastri, secretary of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, said conversion was a personal matter and that no one has the right to "play God."

"This ruling will not stop anybody from exercising that right to choose their religion and practice it," he said.

Angela Wu, international director of the U.S.-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said the ruling "violates international law and stands in wrongheaded defiance of the universal human right to religious freedom."

The Malaysian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion to all citizens. But it also says Islam is the official religion.

This has tacitly given the Shariah courts — which govern the personal and family rights of Malaysian Muslims — the upper hand in disputes involving Islam.

Generally, the Shariah courts have not allowed Muslims, who comprise nearly 60 percent of the country's 26 million people, to legally leave their religion.

Civil courts, which govern the personal and family rights of non-Muslims, have opted to remain subordinate to the Shariah courts even though the constitution is vague on who has the higher authority.

Joy has been disowned by her family and forced to quit her computer sales job after clients threatened to withdraw their business.

She and her ethnic Indian Catholic boyfriend, known only as Johnson, went into hiding in early 2006 amid fears they could be targeted by Muslim zealots, Joy's lawyer has said.

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quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.