MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



10 APRIL 2024

Monday, January 31, 2022

Mum to pursue challenge on conversion despite court verdict, says lawyer


A leave application by a Buddhist mother who converted to Islam will be heard on April 12.

PUTRAJAYA: A Buddhist mother who embraced Islam but failed to convert her two children will pursue her case in the Federal Court despite the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) failing to obtain leave on the issue of unilateral conversion last week.

Lawyer Arham Rahimy Hariri, who is representing the mother, said questions for his client’s leave application were framed from an administrative law perspective.

“We are not abandoning our application for leave just because Mais failed (to persuade the bench to hear the merit of their complaint).

“We are not disheartened by the apex court ruling last week,” he told FMT.

Arham said the mother’s leave application will be heard on April 12.

On Nov 24, the mother filed three questions of law, one of which was whether Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution had been erroneously relied upon and/or applied in the case of M Indira Gandhi v Pengarah Jabatan Agama Islam Perak & Ors.

Article 12 (4) states that the religion of a person under the age of 18 shall be decided by his parent or guardian.

On Oct 27, the Court of Appeal held the High Court was right to allow the father of Buddhist faith to quash the unilateral conversion of his children to Islam by their mother.

Judge Zabidin Mohd Diah said the appeals court was bound by the 2018 apex court ruling in Indira’s case, which held that a spouse of a civil marriage who embraced Islam cannot unilaterally convert their children.

On Jan 26 this year, the Federal Court dismissed a bid by Mais to restore the conversion of five children to Islam, carried out unilaterally by their father.

Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said the issue of unilateral conversion had been settled in Indira’s case.

Tengku Maimun also said Section 117 of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Selangor) enactment clearly stated that both mother and father must agree to their children’s conversion.

Mais had sought to appeal against a High Court ruling that granted the 33-year-old mother’s application to revoke the conversion of her five children to Islam, carried out unilaterally by her former husband. - FMT

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