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Malaysia: Woman May Return to Buddhism

(June 2, 2008) News media agencies have reported that the Sharia court of the Malaysian State of Penang has ruled that a Malaysian woman who converted to Islam may return to being Buddhist. The court ruled that Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah may return to Buddhism following the cessation of her marriage to a Muslim man as she had not received appropriate counseling during her conversion and did not practice as a Muslim during her marriage.

In general, Malaysians may not renounce their faith, and non-Muslims marrying Muslims must convert to Islam. As a state court decision regarding a state matter (religious affairs), this decision is unlikely to set a precedent across the rest of Malaysia. (Malaysian Woman Can Leave Islam, BBC WORLD NEWS, May 8, 2008, available at