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From the BBC News: Life as a secret Christian convert

June 1, 2007

Abandoning Islam for Christianity is such a sensitive issue in Malaysia that many converts find themselves leading a secret, double life.

This article is from Nov. 06, but, in light of the discussion over at MadPriest’s, I thought I would post a link to it.

Here’s a teaser:

“If people know that I’ve converted to Christianity, they might take the law into their own hands. If they are not broadminded, they might take a stone and throw it at me.”Maria – not her real name – is a young Malaysian woman who has lived a secret and sometimes fearful life since she converted from Islam to Christianity.

Apostasy, as it is known, has become one of the most controversial issues in Malaysia today.

Maria became a Christian over a decade ago when she was 18. She says no-one forced her to convert, that she made the decision after studying different religious texts.

Conversion is deemed so sensitive in Malaysia that even the priest who baptised her refused to give her a baptismal certificate.

And, even now, the church she attends asked her to sign a declaration stating the church is not responsible for her conversion.

“My church says if the authorities come, they are not going to stand up for me. I have to stand up for myself,” she said.

Not even Maria’s family know she has converted.

“If my family find out I am no longer a Muslim they will completely cut me off. That means my name in the family will be erased.

“I could migrate, but the problem is I want to stay in Malaysia, because this is my country. And I love my family. I just want to live peacefully.”

Heated debate

Malay-Muslims make up 60% of Malaysia’s population. The rest are mostly Christians, Hindus and Buddhists.

But many Malaysian Muslims believe that people like Maria pose a threat to Islam.

And the debate between those who say Maria should have the right to officially convert, and those who are against apostasy has become so heated that the prime minister has asked both sides not to discuss sensitive religious questions in public.

Read the rest at the link!

Thoughts?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jarred permalink
    June 1, 2007 3:53 pm

    I’m not sure what to say beyond, “How terribly sad!”

  2. Eileen permalink
    June 1, 2007 4:33 pm

    Seriously.

    So much of the world still lives in fear of being authentically who they are.

    And it isn’t just the Muslims who do it.

    Throughout history, it’s been done over and over again, for politico-religious reasons: might makes right and all that.

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