Saw this in the Star today. I thought this was the most hopeful articulation by respected Islamic authorities on a sensitive subject in recent days.
Islam is not to be made the desperate handmaiden of any political party in dire need of support and membership at all costs. Islam is God’s gift of mercy to mankind. Accepting and recognising this gift does not make God greater for He is not in need of anything.
Similarly, by refusing, it does not make Him a lesser God. Islam is not a religion for fools. Using the mechanism of the judiciary to ‘Islamise’ people, or to prevent them from leaving Islam is totally absurd.
All it achieves is to unjustly portray all Muslims as ignorant fools, and as a result of association, Islam becomes the victim.
Imagine what the non-Muslim community in general will understand of Islam. They will conclude that Islam is a cruel religion that seeks to separate a parent from his or her children.
As a result, Islam will be put on trial. And this is already happening.[More]
There are two issues: the rights of persons who are forcibly prevented from leaving Islam and therefore denied freedom of choice ( suggesting a poor conception of the dignity of personhood) and the oft-quoted demeaning of Islam’s image (which suggests the religion's inability to prevail against perceived threats). These writers express greater confidence in Islam’s integrity to stand without artificial buttresses, unlike the views of many reported in the media – after all, what is’ truth’ if it needs props to burnish its image or keep its faithful in line? If these words even hint at the official line, we’re close to turning the corner.