PETALING JAYA: Sisters in Islam (SIS) welcomes the Federal Court's ruling to make the National Registration Department (NRD) remove "bin Abdullah" from the birth certificate of a Muslim boy born out of wedlock in Johor.
However, the NGO called for a ruling that addressed the core issue of the stigmatisation of Muslim children born out of wedlock.
"The usage of 'bin Abdullah' for Muslim children born out of wedlock carries a social stigma as 'bin Abdullah' children are often ridiculed, attacked, bullied and targeted.
"The Federal Court’s decision for the removal of 'bin Abdullah' from the child’s name but disallowing him to carry the father’s name will only lead to a new kind of stigmatisation of the child and other children in a similar situation.
"Also, it is now an open question as to what the child’s last name should be," said the organisation in a press statement on Friday (Feb 14).
SIS said that it supported the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam)'s call for the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 to be amended and applied equally to all Malaysians, both Muslims and non-Muslims.
It commended the views of the Penang mufti Datuk Seri Dr Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor and Perlis mufti Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin on the matter.
"SIS is grateful that Malaysia has religious leaders such as the Mufti of Penang and the Mufti of Perlis who have provided a compassionate approach to this issue so as to take into account the welfare and best interest of the child," said the organisation.
SIS said that a fatwa on the matter should take into account the best interest of the child.
"We have often criticised the far-reaching effects of a fatwa, which sometimes have even more overreaching consequences than the law itself.
"The application of a fatwa in such a manner should be scrutinised and subjected to proper consultation, checks and balances, especially when it has a severe impact on the life of a child," said SIS.
SIS also called for greater balance in the promulgation of Islamic laws and fatwas.
"The most important tenets of Islam – justice, compassion, harmony – must be the guiding factor.
"It is clear that this fatwa on children born out of wedlock causes harm and is not beneficial to the welfare and best interest of the child," said the organisation.
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