On the Denial to Let Azlina Jailani /Lina Joy Remove "Islam" from her Identity Card.
" ...In my view this is tantamount to UNEQUAL treatment under the law.
In other words it is discriminatory and unconstitutional and should therefore be struck down. Read here for more
-Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Richard Malanjum
Clause in Federal Constitution on Religion is NOT Meant to Protect Muslims
Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said Article 11 (1) of the Federal Constitution does NOT apply to Malaysian Muslims.
The Freedom of Religion clause under Article 11 (1) of the Federal Constitution does not protect the the fundamental right of Malaysian Muslims who wish to convert at any time. Their fundamental rights as a Muslim are determined SOLELY by the decisions of those who sit in the Syariah Court.
For Malaysian muslims, the Syariah Court is SUPREME to the Federal Constitution inasfar as their right of choice of religion.
Nazri Aziz said Muslims who wish to renounce the religion would need to obtain an order or declaration from the Syariah Court, which has the jurisdiction under state Enactments of Islam.
He said the highly controversial case of Lina Joy vs Federal Territory Department should be the guide for those born and raised into the Islamic religion and those converted to be muslims.
According to Nazri, for Malaysian muslims, the controversial Lina Joy judgement (2-1)led by the disgraced former Chief Judge Tun Fairuz overrides Federal Constitution's Article 11 (1).
- Click to DOWNLOAD or READ FULL- Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim's Majority judgment (.pdf file)
- Click to DOWNLOAD or READ FULL - Judge Richard Malamjum's Dissenting Decision (.pdf file)
“The judgment in the case states clearly that a Muslim cannot renounce the religion as he wishes.Nazri said a Muslim can only renounce the religion ONLY AFTER the Syariah Court gives the order. Without that order, w the National Registration Department cannot delete the word “Islam” from the identity card once relevant documents are shown.
If such freedom is given to Muslims, this will affect the status of Islam as the OFFICIAL religion, as stated in the Federal Constitution.”
He also said that the government has NO intention to amend Article 11 (1) after the Federal Court decided on the Lina Joy case.
The jurisdiction of the Syariah Court over converts from Islam to other religions has been hotly debated by the Malaysian public in the past few years, with this and other court cases involving converts closely followed by the media.
In Malaysia, the Syariah Court ALONE has the power to deal with Islamic issues, including legal recognition for conversion to and from Islam. Conversely, the Syariah Court has no jurisdiction over those who are NOT Muslims.
Lina Joy, by her own admission, is no longer Muslim, but only the Syariah Court can legally recognize this.
(Read here the outcry AGAINST the major decision (2-1) led by the disgraced Chief Justice Tun Fairuz in the Lina Joy case and HERE)Lina Joy is not the first person to apply for recognition of conversion from Islam; another woman named only as "Maria" by the BBC is also pursuing a similar case.
In 2006, the Negeri Sembilan Syariah High Court in Seremban granted recognition for the 1936 conversion from Islam to Buddhism of Nyonya Tahir; however, Tahir was deceased by that time.
The Lina Joy Case
Lina Joy is a Malay convert from Islam to Christianity. Born Azlina Jailani in 1964 in Malaysia to Muslim parents of Javanese descent, she converted at age 26.
In 1998, she was baptized, and applied to have her conversion legally recognized by the Malaysian courts. Though her change of name was recognized in 1999 and so noted on her identity card, her change of religion was not (since it is without the Mahkamah Syariah[confirmation document); for this reason, she filed suit with the High Court in 1999, bypassing the Syariah Court (Islamic court).
She later filed suit with the Federal Court in 2006. Joy hopes to live openly as a Christian; she was forced to go into hiding by the publicity surrounding her case.
In a majority verdict delivered on May 30, 2007, the Federal Court rejected her appeal. Her appeal was dismissed 2-1 by Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and Datuk Alauddin Mohd Sheriff. Both of these justices ruled:
The dissenting Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Richard Malanjum wrote that :
"...a person who wanted to renounce his/her religion must do so according to existing laws or practices of the PARTICULAR religion.
Only after the person has complied with the requirements and the authorities are satisfied that the person has apostatised, can she embrace Christianity....
In other words, a person cannot, at one's whims and fancies renounce or embrace a religion." Read here for more
"Hence, in my view this is tantamount to UNEQUAL treatment under the law.
In other words it is discriminatory and unconstitutional and should therefore be struck down.
For this reason alone, the relief sought for by the appellant should be granted, namely for a declaration that she is entitled to have an identity card in which the word 'Islam' does not appear." Read here for more
The non-Muslim man is required to convert to Islam under Malaysian law. Under Syariah, Muslim men are only allowed to marry “people of the book,” (those who believe in One God).
According to a senior official in the National Registration Department (NRD), for the NRD to change the religion on her identity card would mean that the department would be officially declaring her an apostate, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Shariah Court.