JOHOR BARU: Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar has advised everyone to not jump to any conclusion or act prematurely against the Malaysian Muslim woman who had a marriage ceremony with Indian national hockey captain Manpreet Singh Pawar in a Sikh temple in Punjab, India.
His Majesty said that the woman, Illi Najwa Saddique, was on trial by media although she has yet to declare herself as having renounced Islam.
“If we are hasty in our actions to punish her, then we are building a high barrier for her to return to our country, which would distance her family in Malaysia as she is in India.
“I would like to advise the woman, who comes from Johor, that whatever action that you have made, it must receive your parents' blessing and not go against the norms set by our Islamic faith, ” he added.
Sultan Ibrahim said that he was confident that the Johor Islamic Religious Department (Jainj) and the state Mufti Department would provide assistance to the woman in keeping her faith within the Islamic syariat.
He however expressed his sadness on the news and asked Jainj to verify the woman’s status either through her family members or the Malaysian embassy in India.
“I am sure that we will get the correct information relating to the news as soon as possible, ” His Majesty said in a statement posted on his official Facebook page here on Monday (Dec 21).
Sultan Ibrahim said Islam was a religion full of advice and not about punishing people.
“Pertaining to the marriage of the Malaysian woman in India, which went viral on social media, it must be handle with wisdom as not only does it involve the relationship between two faiths but also two countries, ” he added.
On Sunday (Dec 20), Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Ahmad Marzuk Shaary said Illi would be called up once she returns to the country.
“We will only know the full story after we hear it from the woman herself, ” he said.
He said the authorities were still waiting for a complete report on the case of Illi from Jainj.
“From the information we have received so far, the woman concerned is still a Muslim and there has been no application from her to change her religious status.
“We did not receive any application from her to marry overseas. From my readings of social media posts, I understand that the woman is still a Muslim and the bridegroom (Manpreet) had converted to Islam last year, ” he told a press conference after handing over aid to fishermen and farmers in the Panchor state constituency in Kota Baru on Sunday.
Illi, a niece of Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique, had courted controversy when she posted news of her travelling to India to get married to Manpreet and when videos of her wedding in Punjab in a Sikh ceremony went viral.
Malaysians on social media questioned her being given special permission to travel during the MCO, as well as whether it was right for her as a Muslim to take part in a Sikh religious ceremony.
Earlier on Sunday, in a statement purportedly written by Illi herself and shared by Halimah’s aide, Illi stated that she has never changed her religion and remains a Muslim.
She apologised for being ignorant and that she had got married to Manpreet earlier though a nikah ceremony.
“I apologise for our ignorance. Manpreet had converted to Islam last year.
“I have never changed my name nor my religion and my name will always be Illi Najwa Anuar Husin Saddique.
“We had our nikah on the morning of Dec 16 but kept it private. The certificate will be obtained next Wednesday, ” Illi said.
She explained at length how the Indian media had made the videos of her wedding obtained from “sources” go viral and things have got out of control.
“I am not happy about the whole process and he (Manpreet) had not agreed to all this. He did not want this because he knows the consequences, ” she said.
She also said that she had followed all procedures for her travels for the wedding and did not get any special approval despite being the niece of a minister.
“I have never posted or announced anywhere that I am Halimah’s niece. I did not mean to harm or embarrass anyone in my family, ” Illi said.