Source: The New York Times
On August 24, 2006 The New York Times reported, "From the scant personal details that can be pieced together about Lina Joy, she converted from Islam to Christianity eight years ago and since then has endured extraordinary hurdles in her desire to marry the man in her life. Her name is a household word in this majority Muslim country. But she is now in hiding after death threats from Islamic extremists, who accuse her of being an apostate. Five years ago she started proceedings in the civil courts to seek the right to marry her Christian fiancé and have children. Because she had renounced her Muslim faith, Ms. Joy, 42, argued, Malaysia’s Islamic Shariah courts, which control such matters as marriage, property and divorce, did not have jurisdiction over her. In a series of decisions, the civil courts ruled against her. Then, last month, her lawyer, Benjamin Dawson, appeared before Malaysia’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, to argue that Ms. Joy’s conversion be considered a right protected under the Constitution, not a religious matter for the Shariah courts. 'She’s trying to live her life with someone she loves,' Mr. Dawson said in an interview. Threats against Ms. Joy had become so insistent, and the passions over her conversion so inflamed, he had concluded there was no room for her and her fiancé in Malaysia. The most likely solution, he said, was for her to emigrate."