The Book of Prof Shad.docx

In a number of cases a husband in a non muslim

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In a number of cases a husband in a non-Muslim marriage renounced his religion to become a Muslim. The mu’allaf (convert) sought and obtained the help of the syariah court to dissolve his non-Muslim marriage. He also got the infant children converted to Islam and obtained custody 56 Tongiah Jumali v Kerajaan Negeri Johor [2004] 5 MLJ 40 ; Priyathaseny v Pegawai Penguatkuasa Agama [2003] 2 MLJ 302; Lina Joy v Majlis Agama Islam [2007] 4 MLJ 585 57 Refer to Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil, “Law of Apostasy and Freedom of Religion in Malaysia”, Asian Journal of Comparative Law , vol. 2 Issue 1, 2007, 1. The learned author at p. 5 points to precedents from Prophet Muhammad’s time when Muslim children fostered by Jews were allowed to choose their religion. The learned author quotes the unsuccessful application of Rashidah bt Mohamad Myodin Application No. 14200-043-002-2003. 58 For useful illustrations and statistics refer to Azam Adil, supra, p. 25ff. Many applications are turned down on technicalities. 59 Kaliammal a/p Sinnasamy lwn Pengarah Jabatan Agama Islam [2006] 1 MLJ 685. In 2005 a Hindu soldier who had converted to Islam and who had, according to his wife, re-converted to Hinduism was, on his death, forcibly buried as a Muslim. Refer to “Moorthy buried as a Muslim. Judge: We have no jurisdiction”, New Straits Times , 29 Dec 2005, 4. There was a different outcome in the case of a Muslim woman, Nyona Tahir @ Wong Ah Kiew, who had lived and practised Buddhism since her youth. She was allowed to be buried as a Buddhist with the permission of the syariah court. Refer to Patrick Sennyah, “Nyonya not a Muslim”, New Straits Times , 24 January 2006 61
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and/or guardianship over the children without the consent of the other spouse. The non- converting spouse sought the civil court’s help to get her children back. 60 There is one recent case of a young man accidentally switched at birth in the hospital. He was brought up by Muslim parents, but wishes to return to his biological parents. In one case a Muslim girl converted to Hinduism and married a Hindu under Hindu rites. After she gave birth to her second child, her unauthorized conversion came to light. She was arrested and sent to a rehabilitation centre. Her child was taken away from her husband and put in the care of her mother. Some time before the girl’s detention, the Hindu husband also converted to Islam. Later he alleged that his conversion to Islam was under undue influence because he was trying to save his wife from being jailed for syariah offences. It was held by the civil court that the genuineness of the husband’s conversion was within the jurisdiction of the syariah court. 61 Some of the above cases involve heart-wrenching stories of broken homes, dissolved marriages, converts sent to rehabilitation centres and infant children separated from them pining parents. There have been ugly cases of disputes between families and religious authorities on the religion of a deceased. In consequence, police, including the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU), are called in to help religious officials to take corpses away for “proper” burial and to keep wailing and angry relatives in check.
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