The Book of Prof Shad.docx

Many muslims feel considerable disquiet about article

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Many Muslims feel considerable disquiet about Article 18 of the ICCPR which was adopted despite strong opposition from the Muslim delegates who were in attendance. Christianity’s link with the merchants, missionaries and military of the colonial era is still fresh in many minds. The disproportionately strong support that Christian missionary activities receive from abroad also arouses fear and resentment. 83 In Malaysia the adoption of Islam as the religion of the federation and the compulsory subjection of Muslims to the syariah on a number of matters are other reasons why the conversion of a Muslim out of Islam arouses deep revulsion and anger among the Malay/Muslim citizens. Though Malaysia has not ratified the UDHR and the ICCPR, its defiance of them may expose it to criticism 82 Schedule 9 List II Paragraph 1 does not allow the syariah courts to have jurisdiction over non-Muslims. 71
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and, possibly, international sanctions. In an age of globalization, it is difficult to build dykes against world opinion. In the post 9 th September 2001 scenario, when Islamophobia is a growing and profitable business, it will be unwise to supply fodder to Muslim-haters. Given the reality of credible differences of opinion among Muslim scholars on the issue of apostasy, and given the country’s history of compassion and tolerance on this issue till the early nineties, it is submitted that the interpretation that should be chosen should be one that protects human rights and at the same time paints Islam in the most favourable light. CONCLUSION The law is a maze and not a motorway. Contrary to what is popularly believed, legal doctrine is never without uncertainty, conflicts and contradictions. The extent and scope of legal provisions is never self- evident. This is especially so in constitutional law where, like the life it mirrors, the constitution is swathed in contradictory principles. Nowhere is this better evidenced than in the law relating to freedom of religion especially as it relates to deviationists and apostates. The overall situation of religious tolerance in Malaysia was exemplary till the late eighties. Since then the calm has been broken by a number of legal, political and moral dilemmas that defy easy solution. The irony of the Malaysian situation is that on inter-religious relationships the federal executive is enlightened, tolerant and accommodative. It is some judges who are disregarding the Constitution’s gilt- edged provisions on tolerance and freedom of conscience. 83 In India missionary activity has aroused widespread resentment and some violence against Christian leaders has resulted. In Article 10 of the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam (1990) it is prohibited to exercise any form of compulsion on man or exploit his poverty or ignorance in order to convert him to another religion or to atheism.
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