Thursday, June 28, 2007

Kelantan Stiffens Penalties To Stifle Muslim Conversions

From the International Herald Tribune comes this report.

People who try to convert Muslims to other religions could face a whipping, a fine and longer prison terms in a state ruled by a conservative Islamic party in northeast Malaysia, an official said Wednesday.

The Kelantan state legislature approved changes to the law Tuesday providing for a maximum punishment of six lashes with a rattan cane, five years in prison and a fine of 10,000 ringgit for non-Muslims who preach to Muslims, said Hassan Mohamood, who heads the state's Islamic affairs government committee.

Previously, the maximum penalty was two years in prison and a fine of 5,000 ringgit, but state officials feel stiffer laws are useful "as a form of deterrence," Hassan told The Associated Press.

Proselytizing of Muslims is forbidden in Malaysia, where nearly 60 percent of the country's 26 million people are ethnic Malay Muslims. Such cases are rare, and people found guilty face prison terms in most states. However, the amended penalties in Kelantan — which has been ruled since 1990 by the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party — are believed to be the heaviest nationwide.

Malay Muslims who try to convert to other religions are often sent by Malaysian authorities for counseling and rehabilitation, and some have also been imprisoned for apostasy. In a recent high-profile case that raised concerns about religious rights, a woman who was born to Muslim parents failed to get the country's highest civil court to recognize her conversion to Christianity.

Freedom of worship is guaranteed in the constitution for other religions. Malaysia has large ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities that mostly practice Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism.

***** While this move would be a sure vote winner in Kelantan and puts the pressure now on Umno to respond similarly in other states, the timing may be a bit off. General elections can't be too far away and non-Muslims are bound to remember this law as more proof of PAS' intolerance and 'extremism'. Perhaps PAS has reevaluated its national ambitions, made a down-to-earth assessment of its future electoral fortunes and even given up on making substantial gains in the non-Muslim areas.

After the spate of civil court decisions reflecting spineless verdicts and judicial abdication of sworn duties, no Kelantanese in his right mind would want to convert out of Islam for the next few decades at least. As far as
proselytizing of Muslims is concerned the reality is that even Umno's brand of Islam cannot make any headway in Serambi Makkah. Therefore what are the chances of a kafir/kaffir/kuffar/quffar attempting it, let alone succeeding?

Realistically though, this so-called change in the law is more of a smart, strategic political move rather than a substantive faith-motivated one.
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Anonymous A Malaysian said...

HEY...i still dont understand this rule really. Thought malaysia had the kebebasan beragama in our country's constituition, but still theres so much drama on religion. I think the whole thing about muslims not being able to convert into whatever religion they wanto is ridiculous. A person has to love god. And to me, it doesnt have to be based on religion, it has to be based on the person's own perception and love for God. Im a non-muslim, but there are sooo many things that i love about islam but i love my God regardless of religion. I go to church, i even pray to buddha when im neither christian nor buddhist. I wear tudungs when i celebrate hari raya with my muslim friends!

And such rules seem to widen the gap between races, dont u think so too??

12:13 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both PAS and UMNO claim to be holier than the other. So, every now and then, new ruling would impose without seeing if that's what their belief advocates. So, from there I could see, they are not doing the duty of their god but mainly for their own selfish purpose. Their followers are the victims.

Those who know the truth know their duty to god and know how to come to god with sincerity and faithfulness of heart, not by force or coersion.

No man has the right to penalise anyone who does not follow the truth. Only those who try to outdo god would stand in the position of god's authority, imposing penalties that god did not even imagine.

True God loves all his people, He is merciful. All men are living in God's grace and mercy, so, who do u think u are by playing god?

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.

12:40 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simple, for non-Muslims wherever they vote, boycott PAS and UMNO candidates. Why? For PAS, see this blog. For UMNO? Jawi officers serving writs to a Hindu restaurant in Bangsar for having Hindu diety altars. The Jawi enforcement claimed the altars prevented Muslims from patronising the banana leaf rice shop. Pas and UMNO, abang and adek.

1:55 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Billy said...

I am a Christian. A Muslim comes to my house to partake in a Christmas celebrations. He/she likes what he/she saw and felt, and then decided to convert without even my knowing it. Am I to be whipped because of such conversion or should I stop inviting my Muslim friends (which I have already done years ago)to join me in my Christmas celebrations? This country is slowly but surely splitting asunder!

6:29 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey what about Muslims trying to covert non-muslims to islam? Shouldn't they be equally punished equally?

10:15 AM GMT+8  

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