Dec 15, 2006

Angkatan Belia Islam Msia regrets proposing ISA for apostates

Several punishments were proposed for apostate in Malaysia, ranging from ISA to death penalty. It's quite severe for country that preaches freedom of religion. Now, ABIM is retracting the statement made earlier.

(The Sun) PETALING JAYA (Dec 14, 2006): The Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia or Abim has expressed regret over its statement last month that supported the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) against Muslim apostates.

Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) chairman Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said the coalition - of which Abim is a member - had a two-hour meeting with Abim president Yusri Mohamad on Wednesday about the matter.

GMI, the group advocating for the repeal of the ISA, comprises a total of 83 non-governmental organisations.

"It was a good discussion," Syed Ibrahim said, adding that both parties had reaffirmed the coalition's objectives to abolish the "draconian" Act and to work towards the release of all ISA detainees.

The ISA, which allows for indefinite detention without trial, has been described by Muslim scholars as unjust, and hence unIslamic.

"No action will be taken against Yusri or Abim by the coalition and I hope that Abim will continue with its commitment in efforts to fight against the ISA," Syed Ibrahim told theSun in a phone interview today.

Last month, at an International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) convention on freedom of religion and apostacy, IIUM law lecturer Dr Zulkifly Muda said the ISA could be used against apostates because they could be deemed threats to public order and security.

When interviewed, Yusri had supported the suggestion, saying the ISA could be used against apostates in extreme situations where they threaten peace, order and security, and where "the authorities have trouble compiling evidence".

GMI had expressed shock at these calls, pointing out that the law has only been used for political expediency since its existence more than 40 years ago.

Asked what Yusry's explanation was to the GMI on Wednesday, Syed Ibrahim said it was better for Yusri to comment. However, when contacted, Yusri declined comment, and asked the press to stop pursuing the matter.

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