Centuries ago, according to history – people living in Christian states were persecuted for practicing religions other than Christianity, however not only non-Christian religions were banned but also other forms of Christianity that differs from Catholicism – Protestantism being the most popular Christian sect being persecuted, similar to the Shia sect of the Islamic religion.
In this century those Christian states has either been turned into a secular state or still retaining the power of a national religious figure while allowing religious freedom as an endorsement to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, however there are several states replicating the old Christian state’s religious persecutions. I will not be biased while writing this blog post, but I am sure those of you who had lived/living in Islamic states know what am I talking about.
To argue whether a person should be given liberty or not is out of topic. Besides, it’s no use arguing when each debaters come from different worlds.
But if you’re living in a country where you’ll be persecuted for practicing a religion different from the state’s official religion, and you’re able to practice your religion quietly without the authorities or the community knowing, why should YOU read on?
I will give you an example of a country whose name and pride I shall not enclose for I feel it has already received enough tainting from international communities condemning its Constitution. This country has Islam as its official religion, has the clause “freedom of religion” written in it’s Constitution yet there are numerous cases where it’s Muslim citizens were denied permission to renounce the state’s official religion and were subjected to persecution by the community comprised of Muslim majorities and the government authorities themselves.
For a Muslim who wants to renounce his/her religion or convert into another religion he/she has to apply permission with the Sharia court. Reasons for this is because he/she wants the word “ISLAM” removed from his/her National Identity Card, and he/she would not be subjected under Sharia court’s jurisdiction if in the future he/she does something that would cause a Muslim to be punished such as eating during the day in the month of Ramadhan, having pre-marital sex in close-quarters without breaking any civil laws or marrying a non-Muslim without having their partner to convert into Islam first (Muslims are not allowed to marry non-Muslims according to Sharia law). Although there is no clause in any laws that forbids the action of renouncing one’s religion of Islam, however there are many cases where a Sharia court judge sentences the person applying for permission to renounce his/her religion to forced detention in Islamic Faith Rehabilitation Centers without issuing any warrants, thus taking away his/her freedom.
To avoid such unlawful detention some would agree that the ex-Muslim should practice his/her religion in private while going out in the world pretending he/she is still a Muslim by pretending to pray, fast and wearing garments that symbolizes Islam. This is true, for the present moment he/she will not be subjected to persecution but what happens in the future when he/she decides to marry a non-Muslim who wishes not to convert into Islam in order to be lawfully wedded? Or one day being found out by relatives that in close-quarters he/she is practicing a different religion? Or being questioned for possessing an object or ornament that belongs to a different religion?
A reminder: To claim that oneself is not a Muslim to the authorities in order to escape persecuting punishments could be possible, but if found out by authorities that the “offender” is a registered Muslim he/she is liable to a large sum of fine, caning and years of imprisonment.