Sunday, June 22, 2008

Malaysian Christians Face Threats, Worries
By George Thomas
CBN News Senior Reporter
March 25, 2008 - KUALA LUMPUR- Malaysia bills itself as a moderate Islamic country, but today powerful forces are trying to turn it into a fundamentalist Islamic state.

This has Malaysian Christians worried about the future of religious freedom.

"They forced me to renounce Christ but I said no way!" said Daniel, a Christian convert.

Daniel is a young Malaysian who has lived a secret and sometimes dangerous life.

"I've been threatened with death so many times by radical Muslims, but by the grace of God I'm still alive," he explained.

Daniel converted from Islam to Christianity in 1998.

"Under the Islamic laws of my country, the authorities can arrest me for my conversion," he said.

Malaysians attempting to leave Islam has become one of the most controversial issues in this country.

The debate erupted last year when Malaysia's highest court rejected a Muslim convert's battle to be legally recognized as a Christian.

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, a well-known human rights lawyer and a Muslim, presented a brief in support of Ms Lina Joy's conversion case.

"It crystallized a legal basis to implement the kind of measures that we say are undermining the entire societal framework of this country," he said. "Lina Joy was a bad decision, a very, very bad decision."

A decision that forced Lina Joy to flee the country. Meanwhile, Sarwar's support for Joy made him a wanted man. Posters carrying his picture circulated calling for his death. He's been branded an Islamic traitor because he believes that Malaysians should be free to choose their religion.

"The freedom is to profess and once one professes, and this is even in the Koran, it is for that person and God after that."

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