Malaysia’s top civil court rejected a Muslim woman’s appeal to be recognized as a Christian on Wednesday, in a landmark case that tested the limits of religious freedom in the moderate Islamic country.

A three-judge Federal Court panel ruled by a 2-1 majority that only the Islamic Shariah Court has the power to allow Lina Joy, who converted to Christianity in 1998, to remove the word “Islam” from the religion category on her government identity card.

“This appeal is rejected,” Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said. “Apostasy is a matter linked to Islamic laws. It’s under the jurisdiction of the Shariah court … Civil courts cannot interfere.”

“She cannot simply at her own whims enter or leave her religion,” Judge Ahmad Fairuz said. “She must follow rules.”

more at iht.com

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