Readers of this blog will remember my post last May about the saga of Lina Joy, an ethnic Malay woman in Malaysia who was raised as a Muslim but converted to Christianity. The government rejected her request to change her identity from Muslim to Christian because only the Sharia Court had the authority to grant her request, and of course glaciers would form in the deserts of Saudi Arabia before that would happen.
I sent an e-mail to the Malaysian Embassy here in the United States on behalf of Lina Joy, but predictably did not receive a response.
Sadly, as this BBC article points out, Lina Joy is only of one of many Malaysians who are legally not permitted to convert from Islam to another faith. A woman named Revathi Massosai was raised as a Hindu by her grandmother though her parents were converts to Islam. She is also married to a Hindu man and has a child by him. But the government considers her by law to be a Muslim and does not recognize her marriage. When she attempted to have her religious designation changed at the court, she was forcibly seized and taken to an Islamic "rehabilitation" center. This reminds me of how in the post-Stalin Soviet Union dissidents were committed to psychiatric institutions. After all, since the Soviet Union was a worker's paradise, anyone who was dissatisfied and voiced their dissent had to be considered mentally unfit.
The BBC article ends on this sad note:
"A lawyer representing the Malacca state Islamic department responsible for Miss Revathi's arrest, rejected her allegations and said officials believe that she can still be persuaded to embrace Islam.
She is adamant that she will remain a Hindu. In the meantime, Miss Revathi and her daughter have been placed in the custody of her Muslim parents."
And in case I haven't already made it clear, Malaysia sucks!