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Current Application of Traditional Rules of Conversion and Proselytizing

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Chapter Summary

National legislation of all Muslim and non-Muslim states generally permits citizens to change one's religion. Laws or policies against proselytizing are not necessarily an issue of traditional Muslim law, or even solely a phenomenon in Muslim states. Malaysia is the only Muslim state where the Constitution includes a provision restricting proselytizing. According to Muslim legal traditions two kinds of legal consequences can arise for an act of apostasy, those of civil matters and the others on family law matters. In states where the cases of conversion are not registered, there are no statistics available on their extent. Also, no case of punishment for conversion has been reported in any Muslim states. Unlike Saudi Arabia, the representatives of Lebanon and Pakistan were in favour of entering a reference to the right to change one's religion in the Declaration.

Keywords: apostasy; conversion; Malaysia; Muslim legal traditions; Muslim states; Pakistan; proselytizing; Saudi Arabia



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