I linked to the case of Lina Joy in August.
LAWYER Malik Imtiaz Sawar seems a most unlikely person to attract death threats. A small, softly spoken, friendly man, the impression he gives is above all one of consideration.
What has earned him the death threats is his appearance in court on behalf of Lina Joy, a case that has become a battleground of Malaysian political and cultural identity, and of freedom of religion.
Who is Lina Joy?
Lina Joy was once a Muslim but has converted to Christianity. She didn’t do so to make any broad point or to lead any social movement. It was entirely a private decision. But in Malaysia the state takes official notice of your race and religion. Lina Joy tried to get herself deregistered as a Muslim and reregistered as a Christian. As a Muslim she is not allowed to marry a Christian man and any children she has must be brought up as Muslims.
When the state authorities refused to accept her conversion she appealed to the courts on the basis of Article 11 of the Malaysian constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion. The case, in which judgment could be given at any time, has polarised Malaysia. Many Muslims believe apostasy - changing your religion - is not only a sin but should be punishable by death.
Such lovely people.