The High Court of Malaysia has rejected a 57-year-old woman’s bid to return to Christianity, saying it has no power to interfere in cases concerning the renunciation of Islam. Source: UCA News.
The Civil High Court in Penang state refused to hear a petition of the woman that seeks a judicial review to overturn an earlier decision from the Sharia Court, Malay Mail reported on August 4.
The name of the woman, a mother of three, was not published to protect her privacy, the report stated.
The woman was born into a Christian family and converted to Islam for marriage in 1995. She and her husband divorced in 2013 and she wanted to return to her original faith but the Islamic Sharia court refused her permission to do so.
The Sharia High Court rejected her application in 2020, and the Sharia Appellate Court affirmed the decision this year.
The Sharia court is one of two separate court systems in Malaysia that has jurisdiction over all Muslims in the country.
A state’s Sharia court follows the state’s Islamic legislation related to family laws and religious observances.
Judge Quay Chew Soon of Penang High Court rejected the woman’s plea on June 26 and signed his judgment dated July 17. But it was released only recently, Malay Mail reported.
The judge said civil courts have no power to hear renunciation cases.
The woman had sought six orders from the civil High Court, including a declaration that she is a person professing Christianity and that state Islamic laws do not apply to her, citing that Sharia court’s decisions are invalid for being inconsistent with the Federal Constitution, Malay Mail reported.
The court’s decision does not mean her application for judicial review has been rejected but means the court has decided not to hear the lawsuit seeking the six court orders.