Saturday, May 17, 2008

Murtad: Malaysian muslims protest against Shariah court ruling on renunciation of Islam

Malaysian muslims protest ruling on renunciation of Islam

A group of Muslims in Malaysia's northern Penang state staged a protest Friday to denounce an Islamic sharia court's rare ruling allowing a Chinese convert to renounce her faith.

Last week the Penang Sharia Court allowed 38-year-old Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah, or Tan Ean Huang, to renounce Islam and return to Buddhism.

Siti, a cook, told the court she had never practised Islamic teachings since converting in 1998 to marry Iranian Ferdoun Ashanian.

The couple married in 1999 but her husband left her months later and she filed for renunciation two years ago.

Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia, an Islamic hardline group, gathered outside the court and submitted a memorandum urging a judicial review of the decision.

"We outrightly disagree with the court decision as it is against Islamic laws. In Islam, a person who insists on leaving the religion must be punished with death," the group's president Abdul Hakim Othman told reporters.

Apostasy, or renouncing the faith, is one of the gravest sins in Islam and a very sensitive issue in Malaysia where Islamic sharia courts have rarely allowed such renunciations and have also jailed apostates.

Islam is the official religion of Malaysia, where more than 60 percent of its 27 million people are Muslim Malays.

The Islamic sharia courts operate in parallel to civil courts but apply specifically to Muslims.

Protest against syariah court ruling

GEORGE TOWN: A Kuala Lumpur-based political party yesterday submitted a memorandum protesting a recent Penang Syariah High Court ruling which allowed a Chinese convert to renounce Islam.

Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia urged the court to carry out a judicial review over the decision to allow the convert to return to her Buddhist faith.

Hizbut Tahrir president Abdul Hakim Othman said the party disagreed with the court's decision to allow Tan Ean Huang @ Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah to renounce Islam as it did not follow Islamic laws.

"In Siti Fatimah's case, the decision was made based on the Penang Islamic Administration Enactment 2006, which allowed her to leave Islam. We want the state government to review this enactment," he said outside the Syariah High Court here yesterday.

About 10 members of the party gathered there at 2.45pm but were told to disperse by about 20 policemen, led by Chief Inspector Mohd Asri Dun. They were on hand to monitor the situation.

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