Freedom of religion: Refer to syariah principles, PAS MP tells Suhakam


PARLIAMENT | A PAS MP debating the Suhakam annual report on issues surrounding the right to freedom of religion said the human rights commission should base its considerations on principles of Islamic law and constraints under the Federal Constitution.

Ahmad Yahaya (PN-Pokok Sena) said Islam and the Federal Constitution uphold a person's right to freedom of religion, but the freedom is not absolute, as per Article 11(4) which prohibits proselytising Muslims in Malaysia.

"I hope Suhakam becomes a body that places syariah principles and the law as its pillar when discussing freedom of religion.

"Human rights should follow God's religion (Islam). This means when talking about freedom of religion, principles of Islam should always be a point of reference and upheld with full responsibility," he said in Dewan Rakyat today.

Ahmad (above) said a point of contention also arises from parties allegedly pushing a "false narrative" that freedom of religion includes permitting apostasy.

He also noted a fine line between born Muslims’ acts of apostasy and applications to the syariah courts for a Muslim convert to return to their old religion.

"There is a separation between these two matters although not clearly defined in the terms used," he said.

Islamic conversions

In cases involving non-Muslim converts, Ahmad cited conversions to Islam for marriage, but were never taught the religion and eventually upon separation, filed an application in the Syariah Court to return to their old faith.

He said that aside from coordination of relevant state enactments on Islamic conversions, focus should also be given to measures to strengthen the faiths of Muslim converts.

Others who raised issues surrounding freedom of religion included P Prabakaran (Harapan-Batu), who called on Suhakam to set out a clear guideline against the conversion of minors to Islam, citing a recent controversy involving preacher Firdaus Wong.

Prabakaran stressed there should be clear restrictions against the matter, giving laws preventing minors from buying cigarettes as examples of existing guidelines that can be replicated. - Mkini

Freedom of religion: Refer to syariah principles, PAS MP tells Suhakam