Judgment in Malaysia - May 30

Darrell L. Bock's picture

Once again there has been an important legal judgment in a country where Christians are in a minority. This time it is in Malaysia, where the conversion of a woman to Christianity was not recognized.Here is an excerpt from the report of the ruling: PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia: In a controversial victory for Islamic law over secularism, Malaysia's highest court refused Wednesday to recognize the conversion of a Muslim-born woman to Christianity, ruling that the matter was beyond the jurisdiction of the country's civil courts and should be handled by religious authorities.Muslims, who make up about 60 percent of Malaysia's population, have co-existed with Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs for decades in this country, considered one of the world's most progressive and modern Muslim democracies. But the ruling here underlined the increasing separateness of Muslims from people of other religions and reinforced the idea, widely held in many Muslim countries, that Islamic law should have primacy over secular laws in certain aspects of their lives.The Federal Court was divided 2-1 in its decision, with the only non-Muslim judge, Richard Malanjum, dissenting forcefully and arguing that the Constitution must remain the supreme law of the land. The split on the court mirrored the discord in Malaysian society, where ethnic and religious tensions have increased in recent years. The rest of the story can be found at:http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/05/30/news/malaysia.php

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