Juli Jalaludin is a Malay girl, who was born in Kelantan, known as the most Islamic state in Malaysia. She was raised in a Muslim family with a lifestyle of Islamic teachings. Her family provided a proper education to her till she managed to claim the best student award in the class of 1989. She then pursued her degree at the United States of America in an engineering course.
The case of Juli Jalaludin is quite different as she does not go through any court case to change her name on the NIC. This case is made known through the affordance of Internet where she engages in controversial postings on several social media platforms, such as Fcaebook, Twitter and blog. She evoked the Muslim rage by creating a Facebook page called ‘Murtad di Pantai Timur’ (English: Apostate in the East Coast). Kelantan, the state where she was born, is located in the East Coast of Malaysia.
The page was perceived to provoke and insult Islam thus was blocked by the government. Her second Facebook Page, ‘Murtad in Kelantan’ (English: Apostate in Kelantan’), was also blocked by the government. She was not only declaring her apostasy to the public but also provoking and insulting Islam through a public network. The Muslim community in Malaysia was called to respond to her provocation in a very aggressive and threatening manner. The reactions from the Muslims and the threats that she had received enabled her to gain the status of an Asylum seeker in the United States of America.
Juli Jalaludin also maintains a blog providing the narratives of her life events and experiences. She uses this platform to justify her actions and decision by highlighting her past as a victim of child abuse. She constructs ‘desirable identities’ to reach the public and promote her ideologies. Her tone in the blog is much more diplomatic and persuasive compared to her postings in other social media platforms. Juli Jalaludin has created a new trend in the revelation of being an apostate. She shows that apostates are no longer afraid to reveal their apostasy as they can hide behind a keyboard while doing so.
Internet seems to be the most powerful weapon for them. They can even recruit their allies through the Internet to fight against their foes. They can also persuade other people to join and support their crusade. The pro-apostate groups show their unity both online and offline. They get connected on the social media to support and help one another by any means they can.
As the apostates are making full use of the affordance of social media platforms for their own benefits, the anti-apostate groups should also grab the opportunity in utilizing the platforms to construct the good image of Muslims.