08 May 2008

Malaysian woman can leave Islam

A religious court in Malaysia has allowed a Muslim convert to leave the Islamic faith, in what is being hailed as a landmark ruling. Penang's Sharia court ruled that Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah was free to return to Buddhism, following the collapse of her marriage to a Muslim man. It was decided she had not had proper counselling during her conversion.

Malaysians are rarely allowed to renounce the faith - those who do can be prosecuted under stringent laws. Religious rights are a sensitive issue in Malaysia - which is 60% Muslim. The country has large Hindu, Christian and Buddhist communities - mainly drawn from the ethnic Indian and Chinese minorities. [BBC] Read more