Informal mediation centre should be set up to settle disputes between Muslims, non-Muslims, says Religious Affairs Minister

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 28 May 2023

KUALA LUMPUR: An out-of-court mediation centre needs to be established to resolve disputes involving Muslims and non-Muslims, says Datuk Dr Mohd Na'im Mokhtar (pic).

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs) said the mediation process was informal and required a suitable platform to be implemented to help the parties involved, apart from the court context.

"This is because it involves a dispute between a Muslim and non-Muslim, namely a non-Muslim father and Muslim mother and child, without prejudicing any party... apart from it involving two different courts, namely civil and Syariah.

"We do not want any party to take this opportunity to cause conflict and unrest. We want to create a society that is united and understanding," he said when met at a ceremony to introduce a copy of the Quran published by Karya Bestari, Karangkraf Book Group, in conjunction with the 40th Kuala Lumpur International Book Festival here Sunday (May 28).

He was commenting on a child custody case following a viral video on social media recently showing a mother and her nine-year-old child being separated after the Kuantan High Court decided that the child's custody be handed over to the father.

It is understood that the child is of an Orang Asli couple who have divorced and was previously being looked after by the mother, who had embraced Islam.

The Kuantan High Court on Thursday (May 25) ordered the child to be handed over to the non-Muslim father through a habeas corpus order.

Mohd Na'im, however, said the establishment of the mediation centre still required further study by the authorities for it to be implemented either under the civil courts or otherwise.

"What is most important is that the mediators appointed in the mediation process must consist of a combination of Syariah law experts, civil law experts and child specialists.

"I am confident that this informal way can solve the problem fairly and that the interests of the children are taken care of," he said.

Meanwhile, commenting on a viral video allegedly showing deviant teachings involving a "pesantren (traditional Islamic boarding school)" in a neighbouring country, Mohd Na'im said a committee of syariah experts would be formed as soon as possible by the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) to study the matter.

A video had previously gone viral on social media showing a religious ceremony with elements of deviant teachings at a pesantren in a neighbouring country, which was allegedly attended by many Malaysians, causing concern among internet users. - Bernama

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