Asia

Malaysia Rules Muslim Man Can Convert to Christianity

Judge's landmark decision offers hope to Malay Christians amid Bible seizures and 'Allah' bans.
Malaysia Rules Muslim Man Can Convert to Christianity
Image: John Ragai / Flickr
Inside a church in Kelana Jaya, Malaysia.

In a landmark ruling last week, a Malaysian court upheld the rights of a Christian to convert from Islam.

The judgment establishes a precedent in a country where religious conversions, particularly from Islam to Christianity, have been steeped in controversy. The verdict reaffirms the right of freedom of religion, guaranteed under Article 11 of Malaysia’s constitution.

Rooney Rebit, the plaintiff, argued that his belief in Jesus was a fundamental human right, and the High Court in Kuching, Sarawak state, agreed. The judge, Yew Ken Jie, said, “He is free to exercise his right of freedom to religion, and he chose Christianity.”

Rebit was born into a Christian family in 1975, but his parents converted to Islam when he was eight years old. His Muslim name was Azmi Mohamad Azam Shah.

In 1999, Rebit embraced Christianity and was baptized.

In her decision, Yew ruled that since Rebit was underage when he became a Muslim, he could not be considered an officially professed Muslim. But ...

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