Court quashes unilateral conversion

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 17 Oct 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has allowed a judicial review application by a Buddhist man and quashed the unilateral conversion of his two children to Islam by their Muslim mother.

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Azizah Naw­awi said it was not in dispute that the conversion of the children, now aged five and 10, was not done by both parents.

She said she was bound by the Federal Court’s judgment in the case of kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi that both parents must give consent when converting their children to Islam.

Justice Azizah ordered the Fed­eral Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) and the Federal Territories Registrar of Muallaf (new converts) to remove the children’s names from their register.

She also dismissed an application for stay pending appeal by the Federal Territories Registrar of Muallaf, which was represented by counsel Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah.

Later, the mother’s counsel Roha­ni Ibrahim told reporters that they would file an appeal against the High Court’s ruling.

The children’s 42-year-old mother converted to Islam in December 2015 and obtained custody of them from the Shah Alam High Court in April this year. The children were converted to Islam on May 11, 2016.

In his application filed on June 14, 2016, the 46-year-old father named the Jawi director-general, the Federal Territories Registrar of Muallaf, the Education Ministry dir­ector-general, the federal government and the mother as respondents.

He also sought an order to revoke any document that was in the possession of the Registrar of Muallaf or Education Ministry.

Alternatively, he sought a declaration that the certificates of conversion for the two children were null and void.

On Sept 13, the Court of Appeal gave the father, a businessman, sole guardianship of his children.

Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who chaired the panel, had granted the businessman’s appeal to reverse the Shah Alam High Court’s ruling, which gave custody to his ex-wife.

The mother filed an appeal last Thursday against the Court of Appeal’s decision.

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