So here's the news, from Zenit:
Malaysian Woman Not Allowed to Abandon IslamI humbly ask your prayers for Lina Joy. Thank you!
Prayer Campaign Launched in Her Favor
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, JUNE 26, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Christian Churches in Malaysia have launched a prayer campaign to support a woman whose conversion to Christianity is prohibited by law.
Lina Joy converted to Christianity in 1998, and applied to the National Registration Department to officially change her religion from Muslim to Christian, reported AsiaNews.
She was refused then, and subsequently in a court of appeal, because as an ethnic Malay she is legally Muslim, and prohibited from changing religions.
AsiaNews reported that two legal systems coexist in Malaysia: one based on Islam and the other on the constitution.
The constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but Islamic law prohibits conversion to any other religion.
Religious issues involving Malays, including conversions to other religions, fall under the jurisdiction of Islamic courts and not under the country's general laws.
AsiaNews also reports that if Lina Joy is not recognized as a Christian, she can only marry a Muslim in a Muslim ceremony, and will be subject to Islamic family and inheritance laws.
Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing of Melaka-Johor, chairman of the Christian Federation of Malaysia, asked Christians to support Lina Joy with prayers, reported AsiaNews.
The prelate asked the faithful to call on God to support Lina Joy, whatever the judges' verdict might be, and grant the judges the wisdom they need to pass judgment in the case, and Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi the strength to "uphold the constitution."
It is expected that the federal court will decide this week if the law can or cannot recognize her conversion.