Case Study 1: The ‘Crime’ of Apostasy
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This chapter explores the first of three focused case studies in the text. The issue of apostasy in Malaysia has prompted significant global interest but the focus of the chapter is the specific legal treatment in Syariah as interpreted by the State of Negeri Sembilan. The chapter provides a detailed analysis of the legal treatment of ‘apostates’ or applications from those wishing ‘to leave Islam’. It highlights a departure from classical Islamic jurisprudence in the use of the category of temporary Muslim or muallaf coupled by intrusive powers granted to officials to determine religious belief and practice. The case study has prompted significant enquiry about the conflicting nature of legal pluralism and freedom of conscience but also issues of intolerance, punitive Islamisation and authoritarianism in Malaysia.
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