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KUALA LUMPUR | AFP | 25 July 2013 :: A Malaysian court on Thursday ruled against the 2009 conversion of three Hindu children to Islam without their mother’s knowledge, a verdict welcomed by non-Muslim groups.
A high court in the northern city of Ipoh declared the conversion of Indira Gandhi’s children, now aged five, 15 and 16, by their father to be unconstitutional, said Indira’s lawyer K. Shanmuga.
The judge ruled that the father had failed to take the mother and children to Islamic authorities for their consent to the conversion, in a rare verdict in the multiracial but Muslim-majority nation, Shanmuga said.
“It is the first time ever that a child’s conversion certificate has been quashed by a high court,” he told AFP.
Indira, a kindergarten teacher in her late 30s, faced losing custody of her children after her husband converted himself and them without her knowledge.
Under Malaysian sharia law, which governs civil matters for Muslims, a non-Muslim parent cannot share custody of converted children.
Indira, a Hindu, got a 2010 high court verdict to award her custody. But her husband went into hiding with their youngest daughter and the conversion remained in dispute.
Earlier this month Malaysia withdrew an Islamic law which allows one parent to give consent for a child’s conversion, after an outcry.
Opponents said it discriminated against minorities despite government promises to address their grievances.
Religious groups welcomed Thursday’s verdict.
“We are very happy about that decision. But it must be accepted by all the Islamic and other government agencies,” said Mohan Shan, an official with the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism.
Conversions of children and “body-snatching” cases — in which Islamic authorities tussle with families over the remains of people whose religion is disputed — have previously raised tensions.
More than 60 percent of Malaysia’s 28 million people are Muslim ethnic Malays, but it also has sizeable Chinese and Indian minorities who are non-Muslims. [eFox News].
Kuala Lumpur | PTI | 25 July 2013 :: In a landmark ruling, a Malaysian court on Thursday dismissed the 2009 conversion of three Hindu children to Islam without their mother’s consent. Judicial Commissioner Lee Swee Seng at a Hight Court in the northern city of Ipoh ruled the certificates of conversion null and void because it was unconstitutional, against the right of natural justice, and it was given without hearing the mother or children. He also said it was unlawful as Sharia law in Perak state itself says that the children must be present to utter the affirmation of faith. Read more here… [eNDTV].
Kuala Lumpur | PTI | 8 July 2013 :: Malaysia on Monday withdrew a controversial bill that allows one parent to give consent for the conversion of a child, following an outcry over two minor ethnic Indian Hindu children embracing Islam without their mother’s permission. The controversial Administration of the Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013 was withdrawn from parliament following a motion by Minister in the Prime Minister’s department Jamil Khir Baharom. Mr. Baharom moved the motion to withdraw the bill for its second third and fourth reading and from being debated on. The bill was tabled for the first reading in Parliament on June 26. On Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had said the bill would be withdrawn until an agreement was reached with all stakeholders. He said the Cabinet decided to withdraw the bill from the current parliament meeting following concerns from various quarters, including the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional’s component party members. The component party include Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC). Read more here… [eThe Hindu].
Kuala Lumpur | HJS | 23 July 2013 :: The report gives us an account of a Muslim dominated school in Malaysia where children eating in the bathroom are taken from Facebook and they were posted by a mother whose kids go to the same school. As the mother claims, all these school children are non-Muslims and they are forced to eat during breaks in bathroom during the month of Ramazan (the Islamic month of both fasting and feasting ). Read more here… [eHJS].