No Compulsion in Islam?
Islamic apologists trying to explain away the death penalty for apostasy always quote Koran 2:256, which states, “There is no compulsion in Islam.”
In Malaysia, though, they apparently see Koran 2:256 more as a guideline than a strict rule: Tougher Law For Malaysia Converts.
The only opposition-ruled state in Malaysia has approved stiffer penalties to deter people from trying to convert Muslims to other faiths.
Under the revised law passed by Kelantan state, anyone found guilty faces a maximum penalty of six lashes with a rattan cane, five years in prison and a fine of almost $3,000. Kelantan is the only Malaysian state led by the opposition Islamist party, PAS.
Hassan Mohamood, who heads Kelantan’s Islamic affairs committee, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the stiffer laws are useful “as a form of deterrence”.
The previous maximum penalty was two years in prison and a fine of RM5,000 ($1,400).
Proselytising of Muslims is forbidden under federal laws, but the recent case of Line Joy, a Malay-Muslim woman who sought legal recognition of her right to pick her religion of choice, raised fears among some in Malaysia over mass conversion.
Attempts to convert Muslims to other faiths are rare, and people found guilty face prison terms in most states in the country where just over half the 27 million population are Muslims with a sizeable number of Buddhists, Christians and Hindus.