Praise the Lord for the High Court’s decision last week to allow Rooney, 41, to officially change his religion from Islam to Christianity on all of his records in the government’s registration department (NRD). It was reported on March 30 that Rooney was born into a Christian family, but his parents converted to Islam when he was a minor at 8 years old. For the past 33 years, even though he has continued to believe in Jesus, his identity card has listed his religious affiliation as Muslim.
It remains to be seen, however, whether the NRD will comply with the High Court’s decision and whether the Islamic religious department will appeal against it. This decision has the potential to set an important precedent for believers in Malaysia. There are many people like Rooney whose documented religion was changed to Islam as a minor or without their proper consent. Pray that this case will embolden others to fight for the same rights in other states.
Rooney is from Sarawak, East Malaysia, in which Christians currently make up the majority of the population. Deliberate efforts are being made by the state to turn Sarawak into a Muslim majority state as they did with Sabah, another state in East Malaysia. Therefore, pray for the Church in both Sarawak and Sabah to stand up for their right to officially identify as Christians.
Father, thank You for this ray of hope in Malaysia, for the hope that other Christians such as Rooney might be allowed to officially proclaim their faith in Christ. We continue to lift up Rooney as he attempts to follow through with the registration change ordered by the court. We pray against any appeal process on the part of the NRD and against any repercussions aimed at the Christian community. Grant much wisdom to the church leaders that they might know when and how to stand boldly in godly ways for their right to be known legally as followers of Jesus, as Christians. We pray that this court action will be a breakthrough to greater religious freedom in Malaysia. And we pray for the Holy Spirit to break through the spiritual darkness in Malaysia with the light of the gospel of Christ. In the name of Jesus, in whom we live and move and have our being. Amen.