I have just been alerted on the journal article, "Law of Apostasy and Freedom of Religion in Malaysia" by Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil, MARA University of Technology, Shah Alam, Malaysia.
The abstract of this article is reproduced below:
The right to freedom of religion is one of the fundamental rights guaranteed in Islam. This is emphasised in verse 256 of Sura al-Baqara: "Let there be no compulsion in religion". However, the majority of classical Muslim jurists opine that the right to freedom of religion is not applicable to Muslims, that Muslims who intend to leave the Islamic faith or who have apostatised should be condemned to the death penalty. In reality, punishment for apostasy is not prescribed in the Qur'an and had not been practised by the Prophet (S.A.W.). Instead, the Prophet (S.A.W.) had imposed the death penalty upon apostates because their acts were contemptuous of, and hostile towards, Islam. Muslims who merely renounced the Islamic religion were only required to undergo a process of repentance (tawba). The right to freedom of religion is guaranteed in Article 11(1) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. However, as Islamic matters belong to the state jurisdictions, most provisions in relation to apostasy are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Shari'a Courts. Apostates are subject to punishments such as fine, imprisonment and whipping. This article makes an in-depth study of the right to freedom of religion and the issue of apostasy from the Islamic law perspective, and argues that Muslims who intend to leave the Islamic faith are only required to undergo a process of repentance (tawba), and any punishment prescribed for apostasy is contrary to the right to freedom of religion.
The full text of this article may be accessed electronically through the Asian Journal of Comparative Law, 2/1 (April 2007). Check it out.