Muslim-born woman seeks life as Hindu

via http://www.newsone.ca/westfallweeklynews/stories/index.php?action=fullnews&id=23625 published on July 7, 2007

SHAH ALAM, Malaysia – A Muslim-born woman who was forced to spend six months in an Islamic rehabilitation center because she wants to live as a Hindu said Friday after her release that she will never return to her original faith.



“Because of their behavior, I loathe Islam even more now,” she told reporters. “They say it’s a school, but it’s actually a prison.”



Malaysia is considered one of the world’s most relaxed Muslim countries, having enjoyed racial peace for nearly four decades. But it follows a dual justice system. Islamic, Shariah, courts administer the personal affairs of Muslims, while civil courts govern Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and other religious minorities.



The Islamic Religious Department in southern Malacca state detained Revathi, an ethnic Indian, in January and sent her for religious counseling after officials discovered she had married a Hindu man.



Tuah Atan, a lawyer representing the Islamic department, said officials remain hopeful that Revathi might still return to Islam.



Revathi was born to Indian Muslim parents who gave her a Muslim name, Siti Fatimah. She was raised as a Hindu by her grandmother and changed her name in 2001, but her official papers still say she is Muslim.



Islamic officials seized the couple’s 18-month-old daughter from her Hindu father in March and handed the child to Revathi’s Muslim mother.



Lim Kit Siang, chairman of the opposition Democratic Action Party, said Friday that moderate Muslims must be concerned by such cases because they could hurt Malaysia’s image by showing “a narrow and intolerant face of Islam.”

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