Citing gender: constituting the Muslim woman in Malaysia
Cultural and Social History
Taylor & Francis
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Hussin, I. (2017). Citing gender: constituting the Muslim woman in Malaysia. Cultural and Social History, 14 (4), 513-525. https://doi.org/10.1080/14780038.2017.1329128
In 2006, two Malaysian courts, making determinations in cases involving Muslim women leaving Islam, came to contradictory verdicts. One court was the civil federal jurisdiction of the Malaysian Court of Appeals, and the other a syariah state jurisdiction in Negri Sembilan, applying hukum syara’ (the Malaysian version of Islamic law). The first of these cases, Lina Joy, is perhaps the best known Malaysian court case worldwide, involving a woman whose petition to have her conversion from Islam to Christianity recognised by the state, in order that she might marry her Christian fiancé, was denied on the grounds of her race. To be ‘Malay’, according to Article 160(2) of the Malaysian constitution, is to be ‘a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language and conforms to Malay custom.’1 The 2001 judgement on Lina Joy argued, ‘a person as long as he/she is a Malay and by definition under Art. 160 cl. (2) is a Malay…cannot renounce his/her religion at all.’2 In the second case, Nyonya Tahir, decided later that same year, a Malay woman was declared shortly after her death by the Syariah High Court of Negri Sembilan to have left Islam, allowing her body to be released to her family for burial beside her Chinese husband in a Buddhist cemetery.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14780038.2017.1329128
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/263238