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• CONVERSION OF A MINOR

TO ISLAM:
• WHITHER CONSENT OF
PARENTS?
INTRODUCTION
• The religion of the child will go along with his/her parents.
• They agree that the child may choose the religion that he/she
feels comfortable with upon attainment of puberty.
• Impossible for the child to choose religion other than Islam
as the religion of fitrah (natural/inborn). This presumption is
based on a well-known hadith that reads; “every child is born
as a Muslim but the parent is responsible to make him a Jew
or a Christian or a Majusi”
• Determination as to the religious status of a child as well as
custodial right are very much in dispute between these
parents as their marriages have to end in a legal system
where religion decides on the legality of the marriage.
• Nevertheless, in situation where parents of the child are of
different religion, such law must be given its legislative intent.
• Section 107 concerns the ability to convert a child to
Islam.
• Article 12(4)-"For the purposes of Clause (3), the religion
of a person under the age of 18 is designated by his or
her parent or guardian“
• Article 160-in the interpretation of "his" (male) covering
"her" (female) and see that the word "parent" must also
be understood to be in the plural form that is "parents".
STATUTORY INTERPRETATION
● Nationally, Muslims who seek to convert to another religion must
first obtain approval from a Sharia court to declare themselves
"apostates."
● The government did not consider extending protection to
individuals seeking to convert from Islam.
● According to theory of Islam, religion depends upon belief; a
believer may renounce Islam just as an unbeliever may accept
Islam
● In the Malaysian context, conversion denotes the conversion of a
non-Muslim to Musim. However, it can be applied to conversion to
other religions as well.
● The constitution protects freedom of religion; however, portions of
the constitution, as well as other laws and policies, place some
restrictions on religious freedom.
● The government maintains an official, but secret, list of banned
sects of Islam it considers “deviant” and a threat to national
security
● The government occasionally suppressed public discussions of
controversial religious issues such as religious freedom, apostasy,
and conversion of minors.
● At a forum on Islam and the state, the vice-president of the
opposition People’s Justice Party (PKR) stated that any aspect of
compulsion, persecution or discrimination on the basis of religion
was prohibited.
VOLUNTARY CONVERSION OF MINORS

: Teoh Eng Huat v Kadhi of Pasir Mas Kelantan 1986

: Infant's choice of religion guaranteed to her under the


Federal Constitution

: Decision was overruled on appeal to the Supreme


Court

: Conversion by 15; Federal law still provides for the


age of majority as 18
FORCIBLE CONVERSION OF MINORS DUE
TO CONVERSION OF ONE PARENT
•: State of Selangor passed a legal amendment in 1989

•: An adult converts to Islam; any infant children


become converted at the same moment

•: Amendment was quietly removed due to its non-


inclusion in future amendments
CONVERSION OF MINOR BY ONE PARENT

•: Chang Ah Mee v Jbt. Hal Ehwal Agama Islam (2003)

•: Sabah High Court

•: Converted the child to Islam without consent or knowledge


of the mother; Chang Ah Mee, on July 28, 1998

•: Gained custody of the child on Nov 13, 1998 and


subsequently sued the conversion void.
•: Shamala Sathiyaseelan v Dr. Jeyaganesh C. Mogarajah

•: High Court of April 17, 2003

•: Granted custody to Shamala Sathiyaseelan; father failed to return the children to


her on May 25, 2003

•: Husband converted to Islam on Nov 19, 2002. On Nov 25, 2002 he converted the
children without the mother's knowledge/consent; not divorced at the time.

•: Obtained a custody order in the syariah court on Jan. 30, 2003.

•: April 13, 2004 Shamala went to the high court; to seek an order that the
conversion of the infants was void
“SHOULD CONSENT OF
BOTH PARENTS BE
OBTAINED ?”
• Is it crucial to have both parents consent or one is enough?
• Why is it so important to have the say of both parents ?
CASE STUDY OF INDIRA GHANDI A/L MUTHO V
MUHAMMAD RIDZWAN

•Issue
o Whether the conversion of a minor is null and void

•Decision
•The learned judge decided that the conversion is not
legal .
CASE STUDY FOR CONVERSION OF
MINOR INTO ISLAM

SUBASHINI A/P
RAJASINGHAM v
SARAVANAN A/L
THANGATHORAY AND
OTHER APPEALS (FC)
• Husband(Respondent) converted himself and his eldest
son, Darvin Joshua aged 4 to Islam
• Respondent filed for the dissolution of the marriage and
custody of the elder son in the Syariah High Court.
• The issue is that whether a spouse abuses the process
of a Law Reform Marriage when the spouse
unilaterally convert the religion of minor child
without the consent of the other parent .
• Article 12(4) states that the religion of
a person under the age of 18 years
shall be decided by his parent or
guardian, which means a single parent

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