I refer to the letter entitled Gatekeeping will not stop apostasy by Azza Basarudin. I regret that Azza chooses to view Islam from within a secular-liberal paradigm, instead of opting to view Islam from an objective perspective.
Considering the fact that secularism is the anti-thesis of Islam, one cannot but help notice the wrong method of analysis being deployed by Azza. To view Islam in the light of secularism is to do injustice to Islam.
Let me highlight one very important fact in Islam (with regards to the issue of apostasy). In Islam, there exists a consensus that apostasy is a felony. Therefore, all felonies, by any standards, must be subjected to some form of legal action. In other words, the legal action taken against Lina Joy is by no means contradictory to any article of human rights. Human rights does not exclude legal action against felonies.
To not curb acts of felony is a society is to ensure the flourishing of felonious acts. That is why even though the current punishment for theft and robbery is not a 100 percent deterrent but to opt for not enforcing the law will not give us a feeling of comfort that such acts will cease to exist.
Secularists believes that Islam (or religion) is a mere belief structure that is only relevant within an individual's domain. Secularism then advocates that the function of religion should not breech the public domain.
But one can see the confusion of such a notion when, in practice, this is something of an impossible task. Even in the most secular of all states, such as America, the Christian right has existed as one the most strongest and most influential political factions. Though they may sound irreligious in their policy statements, the content of their policies is very much based on religious values.
Azza tries to quote the 02:256 verse from the Quran (which states 'there is no compulsion in religion ...). Yet his application of the verse to the issue of apostasy seems to be very much problematic.
If Azza's understanding holds true, it would then render all of the 'order-verses' stipulated in the Quran to be void. Orders such as prayers, fasting, alms, respect for one's parents and marriage would be mere advice despite the usage of the 'ordering tone' based on the Arabic language used in the respective verses.
Azza's understanding of the verse would also introduce massive contradictions in the Quran. Azza should also be fully aware that the source of jurisprudence in Islam is not limited to the Quran alone. It is also based upon Al Hadeeth, Al Ijma and Al Qiyas. The Quran alone is not sufficient to answer all the needs for jurisprudence for the entire time until the Hereafter.
That is why the Quran tells us to follow the Prophet SAW (Al Hadeeth) who then taught us how to use Al Ijma (consensus) and Al Qiyas (comparison) when making a ruling based on Islam.
Azza should also realize that Islam has never existed as a mere belief-structure. From the time of the Prophet, Islam has been taught and practiced as a complete way of life encompassing matters with regards to government, the economy, legislation, law enforcement, jurisprudence, politics, society and many other aspects of life.
In short, the legal action taken against Lina Joy will ensure that apostasy will not flourish in Malaysia.