News from Home, World and the Vatican

News selected by Catholic Lawyers Society Kuala Lumpur (CLS) for Catholics in Malaysia concerned about social justice and peace.

Includes CLS Internal News | CLS in the News | CLS Press Statements

Qatar’s First Catholic Church To Be Inaugurated In February 2008

Qatar’s first Catholic Church will be inaugurated this February.

Dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosaries, the Church will serve the 140 thousand Catholics who live in the Muslim nation of almost 800 thousand inhabitants, mainly immigrants.

The complex includes a conference centre, a residence for temporary accommodation, a bookshop and cafe. Read more »

Catholic Lawyers Society & Legal Aid Hold “Law Awareness Programme”

The Catholic Lawyers’ Society, KL together with the Selangor Bar Legal Aid Centre held a “Law Awareness Programme” at the Church of St. Anne in Port Klang, Selangor.

The legal clinic was held on the last day of St. Anne’s feast that was celebrated for a week long at the Church. Read more »

DPM: Malaysia Not Secular State

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said today Malaysia is not a secular state, but an Islamic state driven by the fundamentals of Islam.

"Islam is the official religion and Malaysia is an Islamic state, an Islamic state that respects the rights of the non-Muslims and we protect them," he said when asked to comment on concerns that Malaysia was moving from a secular government to an Islamic State and whether is Malaysia is one. Read more »

Malaysia Not Secular State - What The Legal Experts, Politicians Say

Is Malaysia an Islamic or a secular state? Some constitutional law experts and organisations have different views on this. Read more »

Malaysia 'Convert' claims cruelty

A Malaysian woman held for months in an Islamic rehabilitation centre says she was subjected to mental torture for insisting her religion is Hinduism.

Revathi Massosai, the name by which she wants to be known, says she was forced to eat beef despite being a Hindu.

Miss Massosai was seized by the Islamic authorities in January when she went to court to ask that she be registered as a Hindu rather than a Muslim. Read more »

Revathi, That’s My Name - Forever

M Revathi, 29, still steadfastly wants to remain a Hindu, despite her six month detention by religious authorities and ongoing efforts to make her a Muslim.

“My name is Revathi. I want to hold on to that name - forever. I want to drop the name Siti Fatimah,” Revathi, sporting pottu (Hindu symbol) on her forehead, told reporters outside the Shah Alam High Court today. Read more »

CLS Press Statement: Federal Court Decision on Lina Joy

Civil Society looks to the Judicial System of a nation as the ultimate guardian of enshrined constitutional rights.

In this respect the Catholic Lawyers Society expresses its disappointment in the majority Federal Court decision of Lina Joy -vs- Majlis Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan and 2 Others for failing to recognize an individual's right to profess the religion of her choice. Read more »

Hundreds Light A 'Candle Of Hope' For Revathi

Dataran Merdeka, where the proclamation of Malaysia's independence from colonial rule rang out half a century ago, once again become the stage for another cry for freedom.

This time around, it concerned religion and the freedom to love.

Last night, some 500 people congregated at Dataran Merdeka to hold a candlelight vigil to protest the continued detention of M Revathi at an Islamic rehabilitation centre. Read more »

NECF: Response To The Lina Joy Judgement

NECF Malaysia is gravely disappointed by and dissatisfied with the Federal Court’s dismissal of Lina Joy’s appeal.

First of all, the Federal Court’s decision does not uphold the constitutional safeguard of freedom of religion. It is a person’s fundamental right to profess a religion of her own choice free from compulsion or interference by the state or its institutions. Read more »

CFM: On Lina Joy's Case

The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) is disturbed and saddened by the decision of the Federal Court in the Lina Joy’s case, where the Court has confirmed the National Registration Department’s right to insist on a certificate from the Syariah Court that she has apostatized, prior to registering her conversion in the identity card.

We reiterate that the NRD’s insistence on such a certificate being produced has curtailed the fundamental right of an individual to profess and express his or her religion as provided for in Article 11. Read more »

Malaysia Top Court Doesn’t Honour Muslim’s Conversion

Malaysia’s highest court on Wednesday refused to recognize the conversion of a Muslim-born woman to Christianity, ruling that the matter was beyond the jurisdiction of the country’s civil courts and should be handled by religious authorities.

The Federal Court was divided 2 to 1, with the only non-Muslim judge, Richard Malanjum, dissenting forcefully and arguing that the Constitution must remain the supreme law of the land. Read more »

Catholic Lawyers Penang: Conversion Of Spouse To Islam After Marriage

The Catholic Lawyers of the Diocese of Penang wish to express our grave concern over the recent increase in cases where non-Muslims have been required to seek recourse in the Syariah Courts when their spouses convert and become Muslims after marriage.

We are of the view that this is unconstitutional.

Whether or not the Syariah Court will be fair and just to a non-Muslim is NOT the issue. Read more »

MCCBCHST Statement: Special Prayers for the Restoration of Religious Freedom

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism on behalf of our respective religious communities is disappointed and feel aggrieved by the recent majority decision of the Court of Appeal on the Shubashini case which in effect requires the non-Muslim party to seek recourse through the Syariah Courts.

The fact that the wife has since been granted a temporary respite by the Court does not detract from the seriousness of the original decision. Read more »

Malaysian Woman's Bid To Stop Son's Conversion To Islam Receives Temporary Boost

A Malaysian court on Friday temporarily forbade an ethnic Indian Muslim from converting his 1-year-old son to Islam, giving some respite to the man's Hindu wife who is trying to block him from changing their son's religion, media reports said.

The case has highlighted sensitive issues of race and religion among Malaysia's non-Muslim ethnic minorities, who, rights groups say, are facing an erosion of their rights. Read more »

CLS Press Statement: Court of Appeal Decision in Saravan vs Subashini

The Catholic Lawyers’ Society views with grave concern the implications of the majority decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of Saravanan a/l Thangathoray vs. Subashini a/p Rajasingam which denied the non-muslim wife her right to seek legal redress in regards to her civil marriage and the conversion of her minor son to Islam by her (recently converted) muslim husband.

Malaysia being a multi religious country has clear and distinct laws governing muslims and non muslims particularly pertaining to family matters and it is disheartening when the very institution which is in place to govern and protect the interest of all persons in accordance with the Federal Constitution and particularly non muslims based on Civil Laws refused to adjudicate when an aggrieved non-muslim wife sought redress in respect of her marriage and the religious status of her son. Read more »

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