Indians can be Hindu or Buddhist or Christian, or whatever religion they please. So can the Chinese, Eurasians or any number of races living in Singapore. Nobody bats an eye. It’s nothing. The moment you say a Malay isn’t Muslim though, that’s when the ‘WHAT’s and the ‘Sure or not’s come into play.
Somehow, it’s been ingrained into most of us that being a Malay must mean you’re a Muslim. That the race is intrinsically tied to the religion. One can’t exist without the presence of the other.
That’s a load of hogwash.
The truth is, like any other race, Malays can choose to be whatever religion they please. It’s just there’s a heavy stigma in Islam that’s preventing more Muslims from jumping from one theological ship to another.
When the case of Pastor Isaiah came to light, my relatives were truly shocked that there was such a thing as a Malay pastor. They’re used to people converting into Islam (like my Chinese aunt, who was previously a Buddhist) but they never thought that it’d be the case for somebody in Islam wanting out.
That’s something all Muslims should be more open to, as Mohamed Imran suggests very eloquently in his Facebook post.
While some may view Imran’s views as too liberal (or worse, heretical), what he says is the truth. It’s certainly a hard pill to swallow for the hardliners but that doesn’t make it less relevant or true.
The simple and honest fact is that Muslims are too caught up on the severe repercussions of leaving Islam (some countries sentence you to death if you do) to notice that the Quran basically says humans are free to choose their own religion without being forced to.
Islam shouldn’t be a religion where you’re forced at birth to commit to. Like other races, Malays should also be open to converting out of Islam if that’s what their hearts tell them to do.
We shouldn’t shun those who do, or shame or ostracize those that do but instead treat them as we do with other religions; with respect.