‘Malaysian married to Indian hockey captain still a Muslim’

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Muslim bride Illi Najwa Saddique who allegedly conducted her wedding to Indian national hockey captain Manpreet Singh Pawar in a Sikh temple in Punjab, India, will be called up once she returns to the country, say religious authorities.

“We will only know the full story after we hear it from the woman herself, ” said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Ahmad Marzuk Shaary

Happy couple: An Instagram photo from Illi’s account showing her with Manpreet.Happy couple: An Instagram photo from Illi’s account showing her with Manpreet.

He said the authorities were still waiting for a complete report on the case of Illi from the Johor Islamic Religious Department.

“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 in social media postings, I understand that the woman is still a Muslim and the bridegroom (Manpreet) had converted to Islam last year, ” he said at a press conference after handing over aid to fishermen and farmers in the Panchor state constituency in Kota Baru, Kelantan, yesterday.

Illi, a niece of Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique, recently 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.

Netizens then questioned her being given special permission to travel during the movement control order, as well as whether it was right for her as a Muslim to take part in a Sikh religious ceremony.

Earlier yesterday, in a statement purportedly written by Illi herself and shared by Halimah’s aide, Illi stated that she has never changed her religion and remained a Muslim.

She stated that she apologised for being ignorant and that she had gotten married to Manpreet earlier though a nikah ceremony.

“I apologise for our ignorance. Manpreet had converted to Islam since last year.

“I have never changed my name nor my religion and my name will always be Illi Najwa Anuar Husin Saddique.

“His family has been calling me Navpreet since 2012 since it’s difficult to call me by my real name.

“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 viralled the videos of her wedding obtained from “sources” and things have gotten out of control.

“I am not happy about the whole process and he (Manpreet) had not agreed to all these. 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.

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