Anwar comes to daughter Nurul Izzah’s defence 

(The Star) – Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim defended his daughter Nurul Izzah over her alleged remarks about freedom of choice in religion for Muslims.

Saying that Nurul Izzah had not been given a fair chance to defend herself, Anwar said that even former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had said in 2007 that there was no compulsion in religion and that there was nothing that can stop Muslims leaving Islam.

“Nurul Izzah’s statement didn’t even come close to that. She just said that there is a verse in the Quran that says that there is no compulsion in religion, but we are bound by the constitution,” Anwar told reporters after attending the opening ceremony of a Maal Hijrah seminar at the Tabung Haji Complex here yesterday.

Abdullah, speaking after opening the 18th Conference of International Islamic FIQH Academy in Putrajaya on July 9, 2007, had said that religious authorities should find out the grouses of Muslim converts who wanted to return to their former religion.

The then Prime Minister had said this in response to a question about the spate of court cases at the time involving people seeking to leave the faith.

News reports of the 2007 event by The Star, New Straits Times, The Sunas well as wire service Reuters showed that Abdullah had made no mention that there was no compulsion in religion or that nothing can stop Muslims from leaving Islam as Anwar has alleged. [And the spin goes on … – MTadmin]

Asked to comment on Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah’s statement that faith should not be politicised or used to gain political mileage, Anwar said: “I think what Tuanku meant is that you shouldn’t use religion to demonise people in the media, (or to) to attack your political opponents.”

Nurul Izzah had allegedly made the remarks at a public forum on Nov 3, titled Islamic State: Which vision? Whose responsibility?, where she had purportedly implied that religious freedom should be accorded to all races including Malays.

The Lembah Pantai MP and PKR vice-president has since drawn flak from many quarters for her alleged remarks but has said that her words during the function had been misquoted.