PETALING JAYA: Mirroring a case in Sweden some four years ago, another Malaysian couple in the Scandinavia are facing child abuse charges.
They are accused of hitting and pressuring their children to perform their prayers and forcing them to fast during Ramadan.
The five children, aged between five and 15, have been removed from their parents’ care in Norway since May this year.
The couple, both aged 42, will have their case heard in court from Nov 4 to Nov 6.
The five children have been placed under the care of three other families and are only allowed to meet their parents once a month for three hours.
The father’s brother told The Star yesterday that one of the children had felt pressured with the obligation to fast for long hours and had complained to a teacher in school about it.
That complaint was forwarded to the Norwegian Child Welfare Services during Ramadan in early May.
He said the children were placed in three different families, all of them non-Muslim.
He said as Muslims, his brother was only trying to get his children to pray, learn the Quran and to fast during Ramadan.
“My brother had limited their social life and Internet (access) and maybe this could not be accepted by the children, ” he said.
He claimed that there were no physical beatings as the police did not find any evidence such as a cane in their house.
“This is why my brother was not arrested and was allowed to work as usual. One of his children had claimed being beaten, ” he said.
The case was first highlighted in a Facebook post by the father’s sister who had asked Malaysians for help.
“My brother and his wife are feeling stressed as they feel the chances of winning the case are low. Their children just want to be reunited with their parents, ” he said.
The father has been in Norway for more than 10 years, where he is working as a specialist welder in the oil and gas industry.
In a statement yesterday, Wisma Putra confirmed the couple were facing charges and the Malaysian embassy in Sweden would be monitoring the case.
It said the embassy had contacted the couple and was providing them with consular services.
“The Malaysian embassy is working with the local agencies to ensure the rights and the welfare of the family are looked after, including making sure the children are placed with Muslim families, ” they said.
It said embassy staff had been told to attend the court hearings.
Four years ago, a Malaysian couple were found guilty of child abuse in Sweden and sentenced to prison in the country.
Mother of the four children, Shalwati Norshal, 46, was handed a 14-month prison sentence for gross violation of the integrity of their daughter and eldest son, as well as of assault of their two younger sons.
Father Azizul Raheem Awalluddin, 38, who was in Sweden as a Tourism Malaysia director, was jailed for 10 months, convicted of gross violation of the integrity of his eldest son and the assault of his daughter and second oldest son.
They were also ordered to pay damages to their children.