Wednesday, July 03, 2013

MCCBCHST Statement on the proposed law that allows one parent to change a child's religion

MCCBHST's Press Statement

MCCBCHST wishes to highlight for the attention of all justice- loving Malaysians, whatever their religion, the following scenario that has happened all too often... and yet another example is in the news again.

A husband walks out of the family home; no news of him for 16 months...then he converts to Islam and subsequently takes his underage children to the Negeri Sembilan lslamic authorities to get them converted to lslam. He claims negative issues regarding his non-Muslim spouse. With no evidence provided, nor documents giving him the authority to act on her behalf.

Regardless, the Officer at the Jabatan Agama lslam proceeds to convert the underage children to Islam, without the consent of their lawful mother.

When their mother goes to the kindergarten to pick up her son Nitran, she discovers that he has been taken away by the man who is still her husband. She goes to Pusat Dakwah Islamiah Negeri Sembilan in Paroi and to her horror, learns from a senior officer that Nitran 5, and Sharmila 8 had been converted to Islam without the consent of their lawful mother, and purely at the request of one parent who was a recent convert to Islam, and who is still in a civil marriage with her, a non-Muslim.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) is appalled that despite the Cabinet decision that “A single parent cannot convert his or her children” in the Sun, 24 April 2009. Nitran and Sharmila, aged 5 and 8, are now Muslims — but in the custody of their non-Muslim mother.

MCCBCHST demands answers from those with authority in Malaysia regarding the following:-

1. Was the Cabinet decision in April 2009 a flash in the pan to pacify non-Muslim Malaysians because of the numerous cases of such gross injustice?

2. Does this Cabinet decision bear any weight at all or do civil servants do as they wish? Would other civil servants be enabled to do likewise with directives from the Prime Minister and his Cabinet?

3. Is it not mandatory or at least pragmatic and fair for the Officer converting underage children to verify custody and other issues from their newly- converted parent?

4. Can and will the conversion of the children be reversed as it was premised on untruths?

5. lf the case goes to court, will the Civil Court abdicate their responsibility on a misinterpretation of article l21A?

6. Even if the Civil Court has the courage to maintain the rights of a non-Muslim spouse and the children in her custody in a civil marriage, will the police ensure the enforcement of the decision, and will the Islamic authorities abide by the law?

7. In making this decision, was the Government thinking of the best interests of the children?

8. Will the non-Muslim parent get justice?

The Federal Court had the occasion in the recent past to settle this matter in Shamala’s case; however they chose not to address it because Shamala had left the country - Herald Malaysia Online, 21/6/2013, MCCBHST's Press Statement

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