Islamic court makes rare decision to let convert return to Buddhism

A lawyer says a Malaysian Islamic court has allowed a Muslim convert to return to her original faith of Buddhism. The Shariah High Court's verdict Thursday is believed to the first time in recent years that a convert is being permitted to renounce Islam in this Muslim-majority nation. An increasing number of legal disputes surrounding religious conversions has sparked anxiety among minorities because courts have invariably ruled against people seeking to leave Islam. Ahmad Munawir Abdul Aziz, a lawyer for the Islamic Affairs Council in northern Penang state, said the court granted Siti Fatimah Abdullah's petition to return to Buddhism. Siti embraced Islam in 1998 because she wanted to marry an Iranian.