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5/16/2024 Malaysia (International Christian Concern) — In a decision that could have ramifications for Muslims who have converted to Christianity, the Penang High Court dismissed a woman’s bid to legally be declared a non-Muslim on her national ID card.  

Justice Quay Chew Soon dismissed the 27-year-old woman’s case, saying the issue should be heard in the country’s Shariah courts, not civil court. Although the woman’s adoptive mother raised her as a Hindu, her national ID card states she is Muslim because her deceased birth mother was a Muslim. The woman has stated that she has never practiced Islam.  

Justice Soon said that under Section 2(1) of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Penang) Enactment 2004, a state law, the woman is considered Muslim if either of her parents are of that faith.  

Those who leave Islam to follow Christ in Malaysia and many other countries are still labeled Muslim on their national ID cards, and the push to change their religion on their official documents is often difficult, if not impossible.

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