There was a young man called Gembira, who lived in a small village called Kampong Kayukayu. The village was so named because everyone in the kampong practiced Kayuism – a religion where all the gods are made of different woods (birch, meranti, rotan). Gembira was born into a family of Kayuists, and so automatically became a Kayuist from birth.
But one day, Gembira came across a new religion – X. When he learnt more about X, he came to personally believe that it was the true religion. He made a heartfelt, informed and sane decision to convert to religion X. He then applied to change his religion.
Well, the kampong wouldn’t stand for that! They had very, VERY strict rules about apostasy from their ‘one true religion’ of Kayuism. And they sincerely believed that only Kayuism was the right path, and no sane person who saw the Kayu light would ever want to leave its illumination.
So at first, they reasoned that poor young Gembira must be under pressure… Or led askew by some deceptive teaching… Or something else must be wrong if he could stray from the true faith.
So they tried to ‘counsel’ him for 2 years (it is the responsibility of Kayuists to bring their wayward brothers back to the faith). But their attempts to bring this particular wayward brother back to the faith didn’t work. So they continued to ‘counsel’ and ‘advise’ him for another 6 years.
Finally, they got fed up. Fine, go ahead and change to a false religion! See how far you get! We tried to save you from eternal suffering, but noooooo, you wouldn’t listen!
So Gembira did change his religion… Or at least, tried to. Because as followers of the only true faith, the Kayuists did everything they could to hinder Gembira’s conversion.
Hot-headed Kayuists held rallies, made threats against his family and vandalized his home – APOSTASY IS AN INSULT AGAINST THE GREAT KAYU MERANTI! they would chant.
Bureaucrats made him run around for years to various courts, just to try and change his MyKayuKad details. He was born as a Kampong Kayukayu person, and by law all Kampong Kayukayu persons are automatically Kayuists. If Gembira didn’t want to be a Kayuist, well then, he should have chosen properly which parents he was born to!
Relatives (who had disowned him for his shameful, honour-staining act of infidelness) hoped he would die before he could successfully change his official faith, so that his non-Kayuist trustees wouldn’t get any of his property or possessions. By the way, they’re all big fans of Lex Luthor in the Superman movie and often practise inheritance-getting tactics on dying non-Kayuists.
And finally… Gembira was forced to leave the kampong when he was threatened with both imprisonment (under the Internal Kayu Act) and with painful death (under stones thrown by the hot-heads). After that, all mention of him was barred from the local media.
After all, if Gembira was dissatisfied with Kayuism, it was a very bad example. He was an aberration – after all, NO ONE ELSE ever tried to change religion from Kayuism! (Well, as far as the village public knows…and let’s keep it that way for the sake of village harmony okay?)
And so… How do you think people feel when they whole-heartedly and sound-mindedly want to convert to a different religion from Islam?
Sure, you may argue that in this case they shouldn’t be allowed to, because ‘Islam is the true religion and for their own sake and the sake of others who may be influenced and the sake of the country’s peace, they shouldn’t be allowed to convert, etc etc’.
But isn’t that what the Kayuists were saying too? Isn’t the principle the same? Think about it. Imagine it. Put yourself in the shoes of all the Gembiras, and see if you like the fit.
(PS. Btw, Kayu sounds kinda like Kaio – the term for the administration gods in Dragonball-Z. Hehe.)