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Malaysia court uploads Muslim’s return to Buddhism

ICC Note:

Following an earlier shocking victory in which a Christian man was allowed to drop his Islamic name on his identity card, a Malaysian court has also now allowed a convert to Islam to return to Buddhism.

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3/16/09 Malaysia (MSNBC) A Malaysian court ruled Monday that a convert to Islam has the right to return to her original religion, Buddhism, upholding an earlier decision favoring religious minorities in this Muslim-majority country.

“They ruled her conversion to Islam wasn’t valid… Her declaration of faith was there but she didn’t fulfill all the other conditions,” he told The Associated Press. “She didn’t practice.”

Christians, Buddhists and Hindus have increasingly complained in recent years that they face discrimination, including unfavorable court decisions in conversion cases and temple destruction.

Tan’s case follows another victory for religious minorities earlier this month when an Islamic court ruled in favor of a Christian man who was given an Islamic name at birth. The National Registration Department had refused to allow the man to drop his Islamic name when he applied for a new identity card.

But in many other instances in past years, courts have ruled in favor of Muslims, including refusing to let those who are Muslim-born leave Islam and accepting claims that people converted to Islam before their deaths despite family objections.

Malaysia has a dual court system for civil matters — Shariah courts for Muslims and secular courts for non-Muslims, which make up more than a third of the country’s 27 million people. In interfaith disputes, the jurisdiction of the courts has often clashed, and Shariah courts usually have the last word.

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