Here’s an interesting letter about the Lina Joy case to malaysiakini by Abu Mubarak. I have produced relevant extracts for your perusal:
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.
KTemoc comments: additionally there has been great beat ups about the 2-1 decision as “evident” that all has not been judgementally kosher. The reality is court cases all around the western world, including in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, etc have had such spilt decision by the bench when sitting in 3’s or 5’s or even more, without the world of justice coming to an end.
That’s why there is such a thing as “dissenting views”. If people believe some of the judges were biased, then I have to warn them that that accusation could go either way. As I have often stated, in such cases one can’t cherry pick.
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.
Note: Abu Mubarak also provided an example of his personal experience in the USA where he and wife had to go to a church administrative officer in order to secure administrative assistance for a non-religious issue.
KTemoc comments: I agree with author’s views and arguments.
However having said that, and leaving aside the "interests" of certain sectors in (either gleefully or sincerely) propelling the Lina Joy case into polemical controversy, the Islamic authority including the syariah courts have been unfortunately tainted in many ways by people like the Mufti of Perak.
So while I support Lina Joy seeking justice and an official solution to her religious status, the Muslim community in turn must also play its vigilant part to enhance and protect the perception of reason and justice of its legal institutions.
When unmitigated clowns like the Mufti of Perak make idiotic remarks or spread seditious lies they must be immediately censured, prosecuted or sacked. It’s no different to the sacking of civil personalities in authority or defrocking of Christian/Buddhist priests or monk.
The recent blind protection of the Mufti of Perak by PAS was a most regrettable action. The perpetrator of evil was allowed to get away scot-free whilst those who sought justice were humiliated.
PAS should be ashamed for unwittingly bringing disrepute unto the sanctity of Islam and its institutions through its blind parochialism. The UMNO-led government should be equally ashamed of remaining silent when PAS went on a polemical rampage.
While I urge the non-Muslims to allow Lina Joy to proceed to a solution via the only avenue left, I also urge the Muslim community to be less blindly defensive and examine their conscience towards Allah (swt) by allowing a nasty person like the Mufti of Perak to continue in his role of “providing best advice” on Islam to the Sultan of Perak and the Muslim community.
More importantly if Muslims want non-Muslims to respect their beliefs and institutions, they must be vigilant in protecting Islam's good name BUT not its bad representation, like the malicious evil action of the Perak Mufti.