By Theodore Shoebat
People in Malaysia who leave Islam and convert to Christianity are being arrested by the government and imprisoned in Islamic reeducation camps.
As we read in one report on these reeducation camps:
Converts to non-Islamic faiths in Malaysia can be detained for more than three months in “Faith Purification Centers.”
While some converts are arbitrarily arrested and sent to the centers, detention in one of the three camps is “slowly gaining preference among sharia judges in Malaysia” as an alternative to prison sentencing, Mohd Al Adib Samuri of the National University of Malaysia wrote in 2013.
It is difficult to find descriptions of life in the centers, but one former detainee’s account, smuggled out of Malaysia and published in India, describes how she was taken from her workplace, interrogated, and then placed in one of the religious rehabilitation centers – all on the same day, and without legal representation or court proceedings. The young woman reported that when she asked for a lawyer, authorities told her she didn’t need one.
Supposedly there to be “re-educated,” she was surprised to find nothing was actually taught, according to her account in “Pearls of Great Price” by R. Hunt (OM Press India 2010, reprinted 2014). The warden and staff quickly discovered that she knew more about Islam than they did, and instead of teaching anything, they tried to entice her back to Islam with the “charm approach,” the author notes.
“Folk Islam, with its attendant black magic, was in play here,” Hunt writes.
Though the center was filled with male drug addicts, she was an obedient and respectful prisoner. After many months, the warden told her to write a description of her conversion to Christianity, instructing her to blame Christians for fraudulently or forcibly converting her. Instead, she wrote the truth of genuinely placing her faith in Christ. The warden tore it up three times and then caned her, which she endured quietly. Several weeks later, she miraculously escaped during a rainstorm that knocked out electrical power.
In his academic paper on Faith Purification Centers (Pusat Pemurnian Akidah), Samuri changes the translation of the Malay words for “Faith Purification” to “Islamic Rehabilitation.” Of the three centers, two are in peninsular Malaysia and one in Sabah, East Malaysia, which shares an island with Indonesia.
In “Detention of Syariah Offenders in Pusat Pemurnian Akidah (Islamic Rehabilitation Centers) in Malaysia: Legal Framework and Issues,” presented at the Law and the Muslim World International Conference on Oct. 30, 2013 at Oxford, United Kingdom, Samuri summarizes the rehabilitation program: It consists of Koran recitation classes, guidance sessions, congregational prayers, Friday assemblies, group counseling, community service, aerobics on Saturdays, cooking workshops, handicraft workshops, and gardening/farming workshops. Lectures are given on Islamic special days about their importance in Islam. A monthly prayer evening and personal development workshop are part of the program.
The professor gives no details on the content or methods used in the guidance, counseling, or personal development sessions.
The impact of sharia courts and use of the re-education camps could expand as strict Islam gains traction in the country. In May the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party introduced a strict Islamic penal code known as hudud law, to be debated in October, which would be applied to Muslims by sharia courts. The bill was introduced with the backing of the majority United Malays National Organization (UMNO), which heads the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition. Prime Minister Najib Razak has denied that the legislation would bring full implementation of hudud law, which calls for such punishments as stoning and amputation, but opponents give little credence to his claim.
Creeping Islamization in Malaysia would mean more cases of violation of Islamic law, more power for sharia courts and more use of the re-education centers.