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Federal Court didnt deny Joy her right

The response from some readers with regards to the Lina Joy case are not in proportion with the real issue dealt with by the Federal Court. Lina Joy is no longer a Muslim and no one disputes that. But then the Federal Court was never asked to ascertain what religion Joy is professing. In fact, it is beyond Federal Court jurisdiction to ascertain what religion a person is professing. The Federal Court also did not prevent Lina from practising another religion. It simply said that Joy must abide by NRD procedures when she wants to change information on her identity card.

The Syariah court is the only court recognised by the constitution to be competent in deciding whether or not a person professes the Islamic faith. If a Muslim has no problem going to the civil courts, why can't it be so for non-Muslims to go to the Syariah courts. In a multiracial and multi- religious society like us, reciprocation is not something we could afford to overlook.

When I was studying in the US, my pregnant wife was entitled to free food coupons under a Women & Infant Food Programme, a programme sponsored by the state's public funds. She was required to get the coupons from a local church and attend a 'counselling session' with the church's officer before collecting the coupons. We went to the church to collect the coupons and we took this as an administrative issue rather than an issue of faith. We were no less Islamic when we came out from the church after collecting the coupons. In fact, we enjoyed our rare opportunity to explain about Islam to the officer who admitted that he knew very little about Islam.

When Joy applied to change her name and delete the word 'Islam' from her identity card, it was also a matter of administration rather than an issue of faith. The requirement to provide proper documents for changing information on one's identity card should be deemed as a normal administrative practice. In Joy's case, she needs to obtain judgement from the Syariah courts with regards to her religious status.

Does Joy believe that her religious beliefs would be polluted simply by going to the Syariah courts? If not, what is it actually preventing her from seeking clarification from the relevant authority - which is the Syariah court - with regards to her religious status?

I think justice would be better served if Joy abides by normal procedures when dealing with administrative matters like this, just like others would too. I know a person who converted from Hindu to Islam and her request to the NRD to include the word 'Islam' on her MyKad was rejected because she failed to produce the relevant documents about her conversion to Islam.

Does Joy believe that she should be treated differently than what others have to go through? Then what injustice is she crying out about?

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