The Belmont Club has found the perfect contrast to my recent item about the Reverend Ann Holmes Redding, the Episcopal priest who claims to be both Christian and Muslim. Malaysia’s highest court has denied Christian convert Lina Joy’s application to have the word “Islam” removed from her identity card:
“You can’t at whim and fancy convert from one religion to another,” Federal Court Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said in delivering judgment in the case, which has stirred religious tensions in the mainly Muslim nation.
He said the civil court had no jurisdiction in the case and that it should be dealt with by the country’s Islamic courts. “The issue of apostasy is related to Islamic law, so it’s under the sharia court. The civil court cannot intervene.”
Actually, “mainly Muslim” boils down to just over 50 per cent. In other words, Malaysia ought to be a pretty good test case of Islam’s ability to rub along with other religions. Instead – and unhappily for those of us who regard it as one of the least worst Muslim countries – its disdain for pluralism is hardening. As the Belmont Club post concludes:
We live in two worlds: that of Lina Joy and that of Ann Holmes Redding.
Very true. One of the striking characteristics of the cult of “multiculturalism” is how parochial it is. I wonder if the Reverend Holmes Redding can even comprehend Miss Joy’s predicament.
[UPDATE: In a further rap against Kuala Lumpur, two Malaysian readers tell me their copies of America Alone have been held up in customs for two months while the authorities determine whether the book is “appropriate”.]