A prominent human-rights lawyer today defended Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar over her “no compulsion in religion” remark quoting constitutional provisions that he claimed back her up.
“The constitution says that every person has the freedom of religion. The courts have endorsed, the only issue for Muslims is procedure,” argued Malik Imtiaz Sarwar on his Twitter account today.
Article 11 of the constitution provides that every person has the right to profess and to practice his or her religion and to propagate it, albeit subject to applicable laws restricting the propagation of other religions to Muslims.
Article three also provides that Islam is the religion of the federation but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony.
To support his argument, he cited conversion cases tried by the judiciary such as Lina Joy, where the civil courts “only say that Muslims need to get an exit order from a Shariah court”.
The lawyer expressed puzzlement that the young MP is being harassed over endorsing the constitution.
“Well done powers that be, yet another reason to doubt your relevance,” added Malik Imtiaz further.
Nurul Izzah (above) has borne the brunt of caustic criticisms over her remarks labeled as “pro-apostasy” by some quarters after Umno-owned Malay daily Utusan Malaysia frontpaged portions of her speech at a forum on Islamic state last week claiming she condones apostasy amongst Muslims.
Nurul Izzah, however, denied the accusation and claims she is a victim of an Utusan spin-story.
The daily has been sued successfully many times by opposition politicians with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad has been awarded thousands in damages for “spins” by Utusan.