1. Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria was heard to say Islam mandates the death sentence for apostasy but no such law is applied in Malaysia. Instead there are laws to prevent Muslims from leaving the religion. He declared that without apostasy laws, “we’re finished; the malays would be finished.”Finally, there’s nothing the ordinary Malaysian does not already know. But there is one consolation however. Brief though it was, at least the Al Jazeera segment brought alive the human dimension behind the heart-wrenching episode. A mother has been separated from her baby. A husband has been denied his right to both wife and child. A family has been torn apart.
That is incredible as much as it is unsurprising since it’s the usual paranoia given vent by some politicians and street demos. With due respect, if a majority people and over 1 billion religious adherents feel so easily threatened and therefore need the force of legislation for protection, something is wrong somewhere.
2. Prof Shad Faruqi who was previously on record as saying that conversion out of Islam ought to be subject to Syariah as a legal safeguard (against abuse and evasion of charges of Islamic offences) was heard here saying that freedom of conscience for all people - including muslims - is enshrined in the Federal Constitution under Article 11 (clause 1). Religious arrests therefore not only violate Article 11 but also personal liberty.
3. Farid Suffian Shuaib, law lecturer at International Islamic University claimed the Constitution must be acknowledged in the context of history. Prior to the arrival of colonialists, Islam was already “applied.” The dual system of civil law and Syariah as spelled out in the Constitution simply extends to muslims their historical right to regulate themselves. En. Farid believed the Syariah court should determine the actual status of Revathi’s faith (presumably at birth, since her current belief is unacceptable if she was ‘born’ a muslim). If as it appears that Revathi is Muslim, then there was no marriage – “not according to Islam, or under Malaysian law” (Marriage and Divorce Act).
Again, I find it astounding that Revathi’s personal faith conviction has completely no relevance in the raging controversy.3. SIS Zainah Anwar admitted that ethnic relationships between muslims and non-muslims have been strained, and that “real life” had been overlooked. The reality was that someone who was forced to believe is, “deprived her liberty, deprived her child, deprived her husband, and her right to a family.” I applaud Zainah’s compassion because all laws, whether religious or civil, are never abstract constructs.
In a not entirely inappropriate context (but probably totally unacceptable to Islam), Jesus once said that God created Sabbath for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). Really, the distinction between these two ideas is at issue here as well.
Some sort of compromise was reached in another case involving rubber tapper P. Marimuthu and his allegedly muslim wife Raimah Bibi, the mother of their 6 children (who were all forcibly separated as well). Marimuthu gets his children back, but not his wife. Malaysiakini has the report:
Karpal Singh calls it a compromise and likens it to Solomon's justice. Hardly. Far, far from it. Perhaps the exercise was all about face-saving. If so, Marimuthu's tears tell us justice has not been served.
In an interview with Malaysiakini, Dr M surprises with his views on the apostasy issue. I’ll have to give credit where credit is due, and from what has been revealed in the short excerpt, it’s certainly a progressive point of view that people of goodwill can heartily concur with. Below is an excerpt: