3. Defending the interests of Former Muslims in international forums
Background: Given the fact that according to the Shari’ah, apostasy from Islam is punishable by death, Former Muslims in Muslim countries are put under severe pressure, both from their family members and from the Islamic state; this irrespective of whether or not the death penalty is explicitly stated in the country’s Penal Code. In general, it is accepted that individuals who openly proclaim their apostasy from Islam are looking for trouble. “They should keep their mouths shut.”
In Islamic nations, there is the further consideration that the religion of the residents is registered and that the applicable family legislation depends on the registered religious affiliation. In Islamic countries, one can convert to Islam but one cannot leave it. As a result, for instance, the conversion of a Muslim woman to Christianity is not recognized and she can only marry a Muslim; or if her Muslim husband apostasises, the marriage will be dissolved without her consent. In “tolerant” Malaysia, we know of instances of married couples that converted from Islam to Christianity and as a result lost guardianship of their own children, since Christian parents are not allowed custody over Muslim offspring.
What are the demands of the Movement of Belgian Former Muslims?
To the Minister of Foreign Affairs:
- to advocate in international organisations and in bilateral diplomatic relations to put a end to the discrimination against non-Muslims and to call for freedom of religion in Islamic nations.
To the Minister competent for Political Refugees:
- to grant asylum to Former Muslims who in their own countries, are denied recognition of their new religion by the courts (civil or Shari’ah) and therefore are denied recourse to, and the enjoyment of, their civil rights.