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Freedom of religion

Ali Mohamed, Ashgar Ali and Ahmad, Muhamad Hassan and Masum, Ahmad and Arowosaiye, Yusuf Ibrahim (2022) Freedom of religion. In: Constitutional Law in Malaysia. LexisNexis, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia., pp. 299-325. ISBN 978-967-270-163-7

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Malaysia is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country with a Muslim majority while the other races such as Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians live together harmoniously. Islam is placed in a special position, with the Ruler of the States being the head of the religion of Islam in his state and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong being the head of the religion of Islam in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Labuan in addition to being in his own State as well as in the States of Malacca, Penang, Sabah, and Sarawak. Any person who acts in contempt of religious authority or defies, disobeys, or disputes the orders or directions of the Ruler of the States or Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the Head of the religion of Islam commits an offence which if convicted is punishable under the Syariah Criminal Offences Act of the Federal Territories or the State Enactments. As harmonious ties among the different races and cultures are necessary for the progress and betterment of the country, the Federal Constitution empowers non-Muslim citizens with the freedom to profess and practice their religious beliefs. This guarantee to non-Muslims is consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the Islamic Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In fact, the Quran does not condone forcing a person into the fold of Islam and this is evident from the following verses of the Quran: ‘There is no compulsion in religion’, and ‘to you be your way, and to me mine’. The acceptance of Islam must be made voluntarily without inducement, threat, or promise, among others. A non-Muslim reverts to Islam and becomes a Muslim when he makes a solemn declaration of the Kalima Shahadat (affirmation of Faith). However, converting out of Islam or ‘murtad’ is abhorred in the Quran where severe punishment is prescribed for the apostasy and hence, if a Muslim intends to renounce Islam, he will be subject to the Syariah criminal statute of States relating to apostasy. Having said the above, this chapter discusses the status of Islam and freedom of religion in the Federal Constitution.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Uncontrolled Keywords: Federal Constitution, Freedom of Religion, Multi-ethnic, Multi-religious, Multi-cultural.
Subjects: K Law > K3165 Constitutional Law
Kulliyyahs/Centres/Divisions/Institutes (Can select more than one option. Press CONTROL button): Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws > Department of Civil Law
Depositing User: Dr. Muhamad Hassan Ahmad
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2023 15:12
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2023 15:19
URI: http://irep.iium.edu.my/id/eprint/103968

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