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Pakistani man wins right to change Religion

We are listing always conversion of religion in Islam from another religion, but vice versa seldom known. Fishel Benkhald, 29, has finally won the right to confess the religion of his choice – Judaism.

Recently the Minister of Interior has given the green signal in response to his application where he had sought ‘conversion/correction’ of his religion from Islam to Judaism in his national identity documents.

According to country’s top database authority, Behkhald is registered as a Muslim. Faisal, as he is known in his current identity documents, was born to a Muslim father and a Jewish mother in Karachi in 1987. He was registered as a Muslim due to his father’s religion.

Though recently, he made an appeal to the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to allow him to return to the religion of his choice, Judaism, by correcting his faith in a Smart Card he had applied for last year.

According to some reliable sources of interior ministry NADRA, which was in a fix over the issue, had asked for the ministry’s opinion to correct the religion of a former Muslim. In its response, the ministry said in writing that “the applicant may be allowed to practice religion of [his] choosing and preference”.

Usually NADRA turns down such kind of sensitive issues, Although the interior ministry has given the green signal, NADRA has yet to issue a Smart Card after correcting Benkhald’s religion.

Recently a document consisting correspondence between the ministry of interior and NADRA over the issue had taken place in February-March 2017.

Benkhald thanked the authorities, especially the interior ministry and NADRA, for granting him the right to profess religion of his choice.

“I studied Islam in childhood. But I never practiced it as a religion,” Benkhald said and added that he would consider that a positive development in his case as a treat from Pakistani authorities for upcoming Passover – a religious event of Jews to commemorate their liberation from Egyptian slavery celebrated in March-April.
According to Benkhald recently he has mentioned himself as a Jew in the religion column during the ongoing census in Pakistan. Both the mother and father of Benkhald died in 1996 and 1998, respectively.
“First milestone has been achieved,” said Benkhald, who has also been campaigning for preserving an old Jewish cemetery in Karachi.
JUI-F Senator and religious scholar Mufti Abdul Sattar commented on this matter “If the claimant is adult and never practiced Islam (as claimed by Benkhald that he never practiced Islam his whole life except Judaism) then he is free to adopt any religion of his choice,” Sattar said and added that the state was bound to mention religion of his choice in his identity documents.
“As per as per teachings of Abu Hanifa, if a person practiced Islam in the past but later renounced it and adopted some other religion then he/she is bound to be punished,” he added.
Punishment, according to him, includes a three-day jail to rethink the decision, but if that person still insists he would be punished to death. However, he categorically stated that fatwa was implementable in countries/societies where Sharia laws were implemented in totality not partially like in Pakistan.