Malaysia can’t enforce, but penalty for leaving Islam is death, mufti reminds apostates
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — Islam prescribes death against Muslims who leave the religion for atheism, if they are “stubborn” and refuse to repent, according to Negri Sembilan mufti Datuk Mohd Yusof Ahmad.
However, he conceded that Shariah courts in the country cannot yet implement such punishments, and as such religious authorities must redouble their efforts to curb the spread of atheism, Malay daily Sinar Harian reported today.
“If they are still stubborn, then the individual must be punished by death. That is the consensus of Muslim scholars,” he was quoted saying.
“Considering Islamic laws cannot be implemented 100 per cent in this country, authorities must do what they can to curb this. The jurisprudence has said that even if we cannot do everything, we cannot just leave it out.”
The punishment for the offence of apostasy under the controversial Islamic penal law of hudud is death.
Negri Sembilan’s Shariah laws do not criminalise apostasy. However Section 48 of its Shariah Offences Enactment punishes Muslims who claim himself not a Muslim to escape the jurisdiction of Shariah laws with fine not more than RM5,000 and not more than three years’ jail or both.
Kelantan and Terengganu’s hudud enactments prescribe death for apostates who fail to repent, but cannot yet implement it due to restriction in federal laws. PAS’ president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang is seeking to remove this restriction with a private member’s Bill in the Parliament.
A photo of the gathering by the Kuala Lumpur chapter, or “consulate”, of the Atheist Republic has caused uproar from some in the Muslim community recently after it was highlighted by pro-Islamist blogs, leading to violent and death threats on social media.
Deputy minister in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said yesterday Putrajaya will investigate the local group, even roping in the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, as it allegedly involved the faith of Muslims in the country.
Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim had even said that atheists in Malaysia should be “hunted down” by authorities, allegedly since there is no place for groups like this under the Federal Constitution.