Sisters in Islam today applauded the decision by Kuching High Court judge Yew Jen Kie in declaring Roneey Rebit a Christian and ordered the National Registration Department (NRD) to change his religion from Islam to Christianity on his identity card.
The Sarawakian Bidayuh, who was converted to Islam as a child, had applied to change his religion to Christianity.
SIS in a statement said the decision made by Justice Yew was in line with the principles of Islam as the religion promotes compassion and tolerance.
“This judgment reaffirms the supremacy of the Federal Constitution, which under Article 11 defends every Malaysian citizen’s right to freedom of religion.
“Freedom of religion is a right of every Malaysian citizen and enshrined in our constitution. As such, it is our duty to honour these rights equally and fairly, without regard to race or religion,” SIS said.
The non-governmental organisation added that where our legal system provides the right of conversion, it should not be the case that in reality the practice of these rights are denied, or made nearly impossible, to certain religions.
“The decision does not conflict with the principles of Islam as Islam is a religion of compassion and tolerance. The Quran is clear and consistent in its recognition of the freedom of religion as in the Surah Al Baqarah verse 256, states: “Let there be no compulsion in religion”.
“This has been widely interpreted to mean that no one can be compelled to embrace Islam. Verse 137 Surah An Nisa states “Indeed, those who have believed then disbelieved, then believed, then disbelieved, and then increased in disbelief - never will Allah forgive them, nor will He guide them to a way,” shows Islam’s acceptance of freedom of religion with no punishment mentioned for anyone converting out of Islam,” SIS added
SIS welcomes the judgment by Justice Yew allowing Roneey to change his religion because faith cannot be imposed through enforcement.
“Instead, faith is contingent upon free will. Islam itself means submission to the will of God – not the will of men. This judgment is a reminder to all Malaysians of their right to practice their faith without coercion from the state,” the statement added.
It was reported four days ago that Justice Yew allowed Azmi Mohamad Azam @ Roneey to change his religion to Christianity. The judge also ordered the NRD to change his name without having to go to the Syariah Court.
Justice Yew reasoned that as an adult, Roneey was free to choose his faith according to the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion.