The only opposition-ruled state in Malaysia has approved stiffer penalties to deter people from trying to convert Muslims to other faiths.
Under the revised law passed by Kelantan state, anyone found guilty faces a maximum penalty of six lashes with a rattan cane, five years in prison and a fine of almost $3,000.
Kelantan is a moderate Muslim area. If it were imposing Sharia strictly, those who leave Islam would be executed, per Muhammad’s instructions: “If anyone changes his religion, kill him.”
Kelantan is the only Malaysian state led by the opposition Islamist party, PAS.
Hassan Mohamood, who heads Kelantan’s Islamic affairs committee, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the stiffer laws are useful “as a form of deterrence”.
The previous maximum penalty was two years in prison and a fine of RM5,000 ($1,400).
Proselytising of Muslims is forbidden under federal laws, but the recent case of Line Joy, a Malay-Muslim woman who sought legal recognition of her right to pick her religion of choice, raised fears among some in Malaysia over mass conversion.
Yes, and we can’t have that. Just imagine — Christians in Malaysia! The horror!