Saturday, July 27, 2013

Repeal unilateral conversion law, Bar urges states


5:40PM Jul 26, 2013 
Following yesterday's landmark decision in a conversion case, the Malaysian Bar has called on the various states to repeal legislation that allow unilateral conversions in their state enactments.

NONEBar president Christopher Leong (left) welcomed the decision that declared unilateral religious conversion of minor children as unconstitutional.

"Unilateral conversion is an issue that has long plagued some families and caused social injustice," Leong

The Bar Council has been opposingthe unilateral conversion of minors, stating that to do so would require an amendment to the federal constitution.

Leong had then argued that the meaning of the word "parent" in the Federal Territories Administration of Syariah Law Amendment Bill 2013 should be in line with the meaning in the constitution - that is to refer to both parents if they are still alive, meaning permission from both of them should be required.

Besides the Federal Territory, which withdrew its amendment bill earlier this month, there are several state that allow unilateral conversion. The Islamic Affairs Department of  Negri Sembilan in a case in Jelebu involving S Deepa, backed the conversion of her two children to Islam, without her knowledge, by her husband.

Yesterday, M Indira Gandhi won her case to overturn her three children’s conversion to Islam in the Ipoh High Court.

Leong also said today that although the court had ruled in Indira's favour, it was heart rending that as a mother, Indira has not seen her baby daughter for five years.

"It remains in the dark as to when she will be able to do so again," he added.

Indira's youngest daughter was taken by the father K Pathmanathan @ Mohd Ridhuan Abdullah, who has not complied with the court order directing that she be returned to her mother.

~ Malaysiakini

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