Woman born to Muslim-Buddhist couple wants court recognition as non-Muslim

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Rosliza Ibrahim said she was raised a Buddhist, arguing that she should be considered a non-Muslim despite her Muslim father as she is an illegitimate child. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — A Selangor woman born to a Muslim father but raised as a Buddhist by her Buddhist mother who was never legally married wants the court to declare her as a non-Muslim.

Rosliza Ibrahim, who turns 37 in November, has been on a long journey to seek official recognition that she is a non-Muslim. Her case is finally before the Court of Appeal today.

“She was raised a Buddhist by her mother, she continues to profess Buddhism till this day and wants to continue living her life peacefully as a Buddhist in Malaysia,” Rosliza’s lawyer Aston Paiva said when explaining his client’s case.

According to Rosliza, Selangor’s Muslim laws do not apply to her as she was born an illegitimate child to her Muslim father and late Buddhist mother. Rosliza argued that the English common law and Muslim laws’ position is that the natural father would have no rights over an illegitimate child, while only the natural mother would have rights over the child.

Since Rosliza’s natural mother had guardianship rights over her including deciding her religious upbringing, she is arguing that her religion should follow her mother’s wishes for her to be a Buddhist, and she should be subject to civil laws instead of Shariah laws. Read more

Let there be no coercion in religion — Joe Samad

Source: The Malaysian Insight

BY JOE SAMAD

THE ugly incident at the Sarawak Federal Court hearing on the apostasy case where several Muslims heckled Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuching and shouted “Allahuakbar” was a wake-up call for Sarawakians.

There could have been ugly scenes if not for peaceful Muslims brothers and police who protected the Archbishop from harm.

The Federal Court ruled on February 27 that the Sarawak Shari’ah Court has jurisdiction over the bid by four Sarawakians to leave Islam and to be officially recognised as Christians. The four had named the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department, MAIS, the National Registration Department (NRD) and the state government as respondents.

The behaviour of the group who tried to intimidate the Archbishop shows an intolerant Islam has reared its ugly head in East Malaysia. Some Sarawakians I met said it was just a matter of time. Read more

Ministry says found 13 hotels banning staff from wearing ‘tudung’

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — The proposed amendment to the Employment Act 1955 to address discrimination in workplaces following the issue of the ban on ‘tudung’ (hijab or headscarf) in the hotel industry is expected to be tabled at the next Parliament sitting from March 5 to April 5.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem said the ministry was pursuing a tripartite discussion involving employers, employees and the government to refine the proposed amendments.

Read more

Vote against bribery and corruption — KJ John

BY KJ JOHN

Source: The Malaysian Insight

ONE clear but obvious concern for most Malaysian Christians is the “agenda of backdoor Islamisation by PAS”.

Malaysia, from its inception, has been a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-cultural society defined by a Federal Constitution which amplifies and clarifies our rules of law and due processes.

Therefore, and thereby, we were, and must only always be understood as a secular country. No particular or specific religious values can consequently be used to define public space morality.

Premised upon the secular interpretation of our foundation points within the Constitution, it is untenable that PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s RUU34 can even be tabled in Parliament. Therefore, a good friend of mine and son of a former Deputy Prime Minister, Tawfik Ismail, has gone to Court over this wrong-doing.

Read more

Is there religious freedom in Malaysia? Survey shows one in 10 says no

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Infographic by MMO, source from Kajidata Research

KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 ― A recent national survey by market research firm Kajidata showed that around one in 10 Malaysians did not agree that religious freedom is practised here although Malaysia is a multi-faith country.

The survey to gauge Malaysians’ thoughts on the Transformasi Nasional 2050 (TN50) initiative, with a focus on unity and prosperity, also found that roughly the same disagreed with Islam as the religion of the federation.

When polled, 10.7 per cent respondents disagreed with Islam as “the official religion in Malaysia”, compared to 82.5 per cent who agreed.

Meanwhile, 11.4 per cent disagreed with “religious freedom that is currently practised peacefully in Malaysian”, compared to 80 per cent otherwise.

Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution states that “Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.” Read more

Muslim NGO: It is Malays who are discriminated against

Source: FMT News

Centre for the Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) refutes US report that minorities in Malaysia are being discriminated against. FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra), a coalition of Islamic NGOs, claims that it is actually the Malay Muslims who suffer religious discrimination in the country, while the minorities are free to practice their religions.

In refuting the findings of a report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Centhra chief executive officer Azril Mohd Amin said minorities in Malaysia do not suffer any religious discrimination.

“The reality is quite the opposite. The Malay majority suffers from discrimination on grounds of religious belief while the minorities are allowed free passes, even to the extent of breaking laws, on grounds of freedom of religion,” he claimed.

Centhra was responding to the USCIRF’s 2017 report which outlined some of the restrictions on religious freedom in the nation. Among other things, it said the Malaysian government actively restricted freedom of expression and punished those who criticised it, including online. Read more

Unequal treatment for non-Muslims, minorities, says US report

Source: FMT News

The annual religious freedom report notes the ways in which dissent is handled by Malaysian authorities and the restrictions on religious freedom, while offering suggestions on how the US government should handle this. Pic from FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is prioritising the Malay Muslim identity, often to the disadvantage of religious and ethnic minorities, says the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 2017 report.

Certain systems in place and trends in the country have tended to erode the notion of a secular state and the constitution as the supreme law in Malaysia, it says.

“The Malaysian government actively restricts freedom of expression and punishes those who criticise it, including online,” it says, adding that due to these and other restrictions and unfair actions, the USCIRF has again placed Malaysia on its Tier 2, where it has been since 2014. Read more

NRD urged to stop alleged ‘paper conversion’ of Sabah villagers to Islam

Source: The Malay Mail Online

It is reported that there are cases of poor and illiterate Dusun and Murut villagers in Sabah who had their religions changed to Islam without their knowledge. — Reuters pic.

It is reported that there are cases of poor and illiterate Dusun and Murut villagers in Sabah who had their religions changed to Islam without their knowledge. — Reuters pic.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 ― A Momogun group told the National Registration Department (NRD) to stop changing the religious status of poor and illiterate Dusun and Murut villagers in Sabah without their knowledge.

The Borneo Post reported Momogun National Congress (MNC) president Datuk Henrynus Amin as saying that he was deeply disturbed by reports of NRD officials allegedly changing the religious status of Dusun and Murut villagers on paper even though they did not convert.

“There are numerous reports of families facing difficulty due to their religious status as Muslim in their identity card when in fact they are not Muslim. Read more

Study: In Malaysia, religious controls tighter than in Saudi Arabia, Brunei

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Malaysia was placed in the 'high' group on the Social Hostilities Index, which measures acts of religious hostility by private individuals, organisations or groups in society. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa for the MMO.

Malaysia was placed in the ‘high’ group on the Social Hostilities Index, which measures acts of religious hostility by private individuals, organisations or groups in society. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa for the MMO.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 — Malaysia continues to strictly control religious practices, with an annual study grouping it together with other Muslim-majority countries practising “very high” restrictions, such as Saudi Arabia, Brunei, and Turkey.

The study, published on Tuesday by US-based think tank Pew Research Centre, found that Malaysia’s religious controls worsened in 2015, scoring 8.0 out of 10 points on the Government Restriction Index (GRI) compared to 7.0 the previous year.

Topping the 2015 list was Egypt, China, Iran and Russia, followed by Uzbekistan and Malaysia which shared the same score.

A total of 198 countries were surveyed in the study.

Pew said government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion increased in 2015; the first time it has done so in three years.

“The increase in government restrictions was linked to a surge in government harassment and use of force against religious groups, two of the specific indicators used to measure government restrictions on religion in the analysis,” said the report, referring to the global situation. Read more

Top court agrees to hear bid by three Muslim converts seeking return to Christianity

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Lawyer Baru Bian says there should not be any obstacles imposed on people who want to come out of Islam, February 9, 2017. ― Picture by Sulok Tawie

Lawyer Baru Bian says there should not be any obstacles imposed on people who want to come out of Islam, February 9, 2017. ― Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, February  9 ― The Federal Court agreed today to a full hearing for three Sarawakian Muslim converts who face state-level challenges in their wish to revert to their original religion.

Jenry Peter alias Nur Mudzdhalifah Abdullah, Mohd Syafiq Abdullah alias Tiong Choo Ting and Selina Jau Abdullah had asked if the Sarawak Shariah Court has jurisdiction over apostasy matters or conversion out Islam when the Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance 2001 has no provision concerning conversion into Islam.

Federal Court judge Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, who chaired a three-men panel, said the question of law posed by the three applicants required an answer as there have been similar cases nationwide.

“The Sarawak Syariah Court Ordinance is a serious matter and if the legislation does nothing, what about the ordinary people?” the judge said.

Sitting with Suriyadi were Federal Court judges Tan Sri  Belia Yusof Wahi and Tan Sri Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha.

The three applicants, represented by lawyer Baru Bian, are suing the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department, the Islamic Affairs Council, the National Registration Department (NRD) and the state government to be allowed to revert to Christianity. Read more