Skip to comments.Freedom of Conscience and Islam (Christian Converts Put to the Test)
Posted on 06/05/2007 6:19:47 AM PDT by NYer
ROME, JUNE 4, 2007 (Zenit.org).- If you live in a predominantly Muslim country and want to convert to Christianity, chances are your faith will be put to the test. The latest example of troubles Christian converts face comes from Malaysia, where last week the country's highest civil court rejected a woman's appeal to be recognized as a Christian, the Associated Press reported May 30.
Lina Joy, born Azlina Jailani, had applied to change both her name and religion on the government identity card all citizens carry. The name change was not a problem, but authorities refused to delete the Muslim identification from the card. According to the Associated Press, about 60% of Malaysia's 26 million people are Muslims.
A May 26 report by the Associated Press recounted that Joy began going to church in 1990 and was baptized eight years later. She went to the Federal Court in May 2000 in order to oblige government authorities to change the religious designation on her identity card, but the tribunal ordered her to take the matter to Shariah courts. Joy's next step was to take the matter to the Court of Appeal, but she also lost her case in that tribunal.
Joy appealed the case before the Federal Court in 2005. The arguments ended in July 2006, with the decision denying her appeal handed down last week.
In the meantime, the Associated Press reported that Joy has been disowned by her family and forced to quit her computer sales job after clients threatened to withdraw their business.
The three judges of the Federal Court ruled 2-1 against her. Only the Islamic Shariah Court has the power to allow her to remove the word "Islam" from the religion category on her government identity card, the decision stated.
The wording of the decision showed the difficulties involved in obtaining freedom for religious converts. "You can't at whim and fancy convert from one religion to another," said Federal Court Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim in his judgment, Reuters reported May 30.
"The issue of apostasy is related to Islamic law, so it's under the Shariah court," he stated.
According to Reuters, the country's Shariah courts generally do not allow Muslims to formally renounce Islam, preferring to send what they consider to be apostates for counseling. They even fine or jail them.
Fundamental right denied
Shortly after the court's decision, Joy announced that she may leave Malaysia for not being able to freely practice her religion, the Associated Press reported May 31. "I am disappointed that the Federal Court is not able to vindicate a simple but important fundamental right that exists in all persons: namely, the right to believe in the religion of one's choice," Joy declared in a statement released through her lawyer, Benjamin Dawson.
Joy is not alone in her problems. Last year BBC radio broadcast a report on the problems faced by Christian converts in Malaysia. According to a report on the program published by the BBC last Nov. 15, many converts are obliged to lead a secret, double life.
"If people know that I've converted to Christianity, they might take the law into their own hands. If they are not broadminded, they might take a stone and throw it at me," said Maria, one of the converts interviewed by the BBC.
Maria's case was so sensitive that the priest who baptized her refused to give her a baptismal certificate. Maria has concealed her conversion from her family for fear of the negative reaction it would provoke.
Further problems were reported last Dec. 6 by the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper in Australia. A Malaysian hospital refused to hand over a dead man's body to his widow because she planned to give her husband, a Muslim who converted to Christianity, a burial in accordance with his new religion.
The widow, 69-year-old Lourdes Mary Maria Soosay, complained to the police of harassment by Islamic religious authorities regarding the matter of the burial of her 71-year-old husband, Rayappan Anthony.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, this was the second time in about a year that a non-Muslim has fought for funeral rights over a family member. In the first, Islamic officials gave a former soldier a Muslim burial against the wishes of his Hindu widow.
A similar case was the subject of a report April 19 by the South China Morning Post newspaper. Kaliammal Sinnasamy, a Hindu woman, saw her husband's body taken from her by Islamic authorities and buried as a Muslim in December 2005.
Her husband, Moorthy Maniam, was a Hindu, his widow declared. Her attempts before Malaysia's courts to impede the Islamic burial of her husband came to nothing, when the tribunal ruled that it had no jurisdiction to hear any matter involving Islam, even if one party is a non-Muslim. Sinnasamy has appealed the decision.
Malaysia is far from the only country where Christians face considerable difficulties. Last year the case of Abdul Rahman, a convert in Afghanistan who risked a death sentence for converting to Christianity, received widespread coverage.
Rahman had lived in Germany for some years, but after returning home was arrested in February 2006, explained a report on the case published the following March 23 by the Washington Post. Rahman was freed and escaped prosecution after authorities declared him to be mentally unfit for trial, reported the BBC on March 29. He was, however, forced to flee Afghanistan, and was given refuge in Italy.
Meanwhile, Somalia prohibits all conversions, reported the Catholic Information Service for Africa last Sept. 21. After the fall of the government in 1991, Somalia fell into chaos. A transitional government was established in October 2004. This government later adopted a Transitional Federal Charter, which established Islam as the national religion.
Another African government, Morocco, recently jailed a tourist for six months for the crime of attempting to convert Muslims, reported Reuters last Nov. 29.
A German of Egyptian origin, Sadek Noshi Yassa, was arrested as he was distributing books and CDs about the Christian faith to young Muslim Moroccans in the street, officials said. A court in Agadir found the 64-year-old man guilty of trying to "shake the faith of a Muslim."
Apart from problems related to conversion, life for Christians in many Islamic countries is difficult, to say the least. On May 3 the Guardian newspaper in Britain reported on the situation in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.
Militants from a group founded by radical Islamic students recently went on a killing rampage, which left 10 dead. According to the Guardian, the episode sent a new wave of fear through Kano's minority Christian community. The region has suffered religious violence that has caused tens of thousands of deaths in recent years.
Another problematic country is Pakistan, where Christians were recently warned to convert, or face violence, reported the Associated Press on May 16. About 500 Pakistani Christians in Charsadda, a town in the North-West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan, received letters in early May telling them to close their churches and convert.
Easter is also another touchy issue. In fact, Easter is illegal in Saudi Arabia, explained a report by the Associated Press on April 9. The kingdom allows only the Muslim feasts of al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and al-Adha, which concludes the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.
As well, the article reported that the crown prince, Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, has stressed that the kingdom would never allow churches to be built. More than ever, Christians living in Islamic countries are in need of prayers.
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Or to sum it up:
Saudi Arabia - Conversion by a Muslim to another religion is punishable by death. Bibles are illegal. Churches are illegal. Easter celebrations are illegal. It is punishable by death for a non-mulsim to enter the “holy” muslim cities of Medina and Mecca.
Yemen - Bans proselytizing by non-Muslims and forbids conversions. The Government does not allow the building of new non-Muslim places of worship.
Kuwait - Registration and licensing of religious groups. Members of religions not sanctioned in the Koran may not build places of worship. Prohibits organized religious education for religions other than Islam.
Egypt - Islam is the official state religion and primary source of legislation. Accordingly, religious practices that conflict with Islamic law are prohibited. Muslims may face legal problems if they convert to another faith. Requires non-Muslims to obtain what is now a presidential decree to build a place of worship.
Algeria - The law prohibits public assembly for purposes of practicing a faith other than Islam. Non-Islamic proselytizing is illegal, and the Government restricts the importation of non-Islamic literature for distribution. The country has passed the “Regulation of Religious Practice” law, which stipulates a punishment of two to five years’ imprisonment and heavy fines for anyone convicted of urging a Muslim to change his religion.
Syria - The constitution requires the president to be a Muslim and specifies that Islamic jurisprudence is a principal source of legislation. Sharing your Christian faith is discouraged as “posing a threat to the relations among religious groups” and carries a penalty of up to life in prison. A Christian is not allowed to proselytize ever. Churches who want to hold an extra service must get a government permit. Sermons are routinely monitored, as is church fundraising.
Jordan - Has the death penalty for any Muslim selling land to a Jew.
Sudan - Conversion by a Muslim to another religion is punishable by death.
Pakistan - Conversion by a Muslim to another religion is punishable by death. Bans proselytizing by non-Muslims. Christians regularly put in prison for charges of blasphemy. Islam is the state religion, and in a court of law the testimony of a Christian carries less weight than that of a Muslim. Section 295(c) of the Penal Code calls for a death sentence for anyone who defiles the name of the Prophet Muhammad and requires the testimony of four Muslims for a conviction. This fosters an environment in which Muslims can feel free to use intimidation and violence against religious minorities for personal gain.
Qatar - Islamic instruction is compulsory in public schools. The government regulates the publication, importation, and distribution of non-Islamic religious literature. The government continues to prohibit proselytizing of Muslims by non-Muslims.
Malaysia - Under Malaysian law, any convert to Christianity must apply to a shariah (Muslim law) court to legally renounce Islam. Many Christians prefer to remain silent converts rather than take their battle to the shariah courts, where apostasy or conversion out of Islam is punishable by whipping, fines, imprisonment and—in the most extreme application—death.
The Maldives - In the island paradise visited by tens of thousands of tourists each year, Christianity is simply not tolerated. While local Christians said to number around 300 out of a total population of 300,000 do get together to worship, they do so at the risk of imprisonment or worse if discovered by the Muslim authorities. Bibles are banned, and tourists can be arrested for trying to bring them into the country.
The frightening thing about this story is that the population in Malaysia is only 60% Muslim, and yet the poor woman can’t openly practice her Christian faith.
How can we expect these “countries” to become democratic?
Any Christian that lives in an islamic hell-hole and isn’t armed at all times (even in the shower), is taking his life in his hands.
Coming soon to a town near you, or maybe your town.
As our God is being eliminated from public places (removing crosses, Ten Commandments, Nativity scenes, Christmas, Easter, etc.) the Devil’s Brigade becomes more emboldened.
We could soon be persecuted for our faith. If YOU are required to accept Islam and reject Christ, would you, as a reporter and photographer did in IraQ? I would not!!
See the Book of Revelations (last book of the Bible).
What we are seeing with the brothers and sisters in Christ in the Muslim world is a preview for what we could be going thru.
Posted by another freeper and well worth saving.
The following is a description (slightly modified) from Dr. Peter Hammond's book: Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat. www.frontline.org.za/books_videos/sti.htm
As long as the Muslim population remains around 1% of any given country they will be regarded as a peace-loving minority and not as a threat to anyone. In fact, they may be featured in articles and films, stereotyped for their colorful uniqueness.
At 2% and 3% they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs [Europe, Australia, USA and Japan]. Six percent of US prison inmates are Muslim. Like any other minority, they wont integrate, but work to build their own separate community.
From 5% on they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. South Africa's Muslim population is 2%, but they control 35% of the businesses, a large percentage of the banks and have five Cabinet seats while Christians (77% of the population) have none.
They will push for the introduction of halaal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature it on their shelves (along with threats for failure to comply).
At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves under Sharia; Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islam is not to convert the world, but to establish Sharia law over the entire world.
When Muslims reach 10% of the population, they will increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions. (Ei: car-burnings in France last October.) Any non-Muslim action that offends Islam will result in uprisings and threats.
After reaching 20% expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings and church and synagogue burning (India, Mindanao, Philippines).
At 40% you will find widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks and ongoing militia warfare [Indonesia].
From 60% you may expect unfettered persecution of non-believers and other religions, sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon and Jizya (infidel tax). (Sudan, Kosovo, Lebanon and Egypt).
After 80% expect State run ethnic cleansing and genocide [Western Papua (New Guinea), Iran, Biafra, Turkey and North Nigeria].
100% will usher in the peace of "Dar-es-Salaam" - House of Peace - as in Saudi Arabia, Libya and Yemen.
check out thenewamerican.com
tell me what you think
Reciprocity and mutuality, I say.
Thanks, I’ll be adding them to my daily read.