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Apr 17, 2009

No Force in Religious Believes, Please!


Freedom of religion in Malaysia is a controversial issue. Islam is the official state religion and the Constitution of Malaysia provides for limited freedom of religion, notably placing control upon the 'propagation' of religion other than Islam to Muslims, a fundamental part of a number of other religions. However, questions including whether Malaysia is an Islamic state or secular state remain unresolved. Now it’s easy to convert to Islam but it is so difficult to return to non-Islam religions. Is this the freedom of religion means in Malaysia?

A non-Muslim person who wishes to marry a Muslim person must convert into Islam before the marriage can be recognised as legally valid. A marriage between two non-Muslims (civil law marriages), however, will not become void after one spouse subsequently converts into Islam. Here are some victims of the limited freedom of religion in Malaysia:

T Saravanan/R Subashini

In 2006, T. Saravanan, a Muslim convert, sought to dissolve his marriage with his non-Muslim wife via the Syariah Court. His wife, R. Subashini, applied to Kuala Lumpur High Court for an injunction against her husband seeking divorce in the Syariah Court. The High Court dismissed her application. This was affirmed in the Court of Appeal, where the court also ordered Subashini to take her case to the Syariah Court. As of September, 2007, their case is pending in the Federal Court after an appeal by Subashini. Subashini is also seeking to stop or declare void the conversion of their children.

Revathi Masoosai

Revathi, an ethnic Indian woman, has been held in a rehabilitation center run by Islamic authorities since January 2007 because she wants the State to acknowledge she is a Hindu and not a Muslim. Revathi was born to Indian parents who had converted to Islam before her birth. She claims she was raised by her grandmother as a Hindu. She and Suresh were married according to Hindu rites in March 2004. Revathi was advised by the Malacca Islamic Religious Department to make an application at the Malacca Syariah High Court to confirm her status as a Hindu. She did as she was told.

However, the Syariah Court ordered her detained in a rehabilitation centre in Ulu Yam, Selangor under Melaka’s Syariah criminal laws for 100 days. This detention was extended in Revathi’s absence for a further 80 days supposedly because she had not “repented”. In the meanwhile, Revathi’s Muslim mother obtained a Syariah Court order granting her custody of Revathi and Suresh’s 15 month old baby. That order was enforced on Suresh’s Hindu family with the assistance of the police. The family is now torn apart - with the mother in detention, the child with the grandparents and the father in limbo without his family.

Lina Joy

In fact, Many Muslims who have converted to Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and other religions lead "double lives", hiding their new faith from friends and family. The Lina Joy case challenged this view of the situation by taking the problem of apostasy to the Federal Court in 2007. Lina Joy lost the case and was denied conversion to Christianity. This cleared the situation about the overlapping areas of jurisdiction between the Islamic and the secular courts in Malaysia. Also it is now clear that renouncing Islam is very difficult although not impossible in Malaysia.

Wong Ah Kiu

Legally known as Nyonya binti Tahir, was a Malaysian convert from Islam to Buddhism.Of mixed Chinese and ethnic Malay descent, she was taken in by her grandmother, a Malay Muslim married to a Chinese of Hainan origin who had converted to Islam; however, she was later adopted by a Chinese family and raised as a Buddhist. Her husband died in 1989 at the age of 87; knowing that she would be unable to be buried next to him as a Muslim, she filed two further applications for recognition of her change of religion in 1991 and 1998; these too were rejected. She left behind a written declaration that she was a Buddhist and wanted to be given a Buddhist rather than an Islamic funeral.

Maniam Moorthy (A member of the first group of Malaysians to successfully climb Mount Everest)

A Malaysian Indian born and raised Hindu, a controversy about his religion arose after his death; he was buried as a Muslim against the wishes of his wife in accordance with a Syariah Court ruling that he had converted to Islam without the knowledge of his family. Despite his conversion to Islam, Moorthy remained uncircumcised, still took part in Hindu festivals, ate pork, and drank alcohol; he appeared on television on 31 October 2005, being interviewed about his celebration of Deepavali. On 11 November 2005, he fell from his wheelchair, injuring his head and entering into a coma from which he would never recover.

And the latest case:

Indra gandhi’s three young children were forcefully converted to Islam by her estranged husband. Indira's marriage is now is a limbo after her husband, K Patmanathan, 40, converted without her knowledge on March 11. She claimed that her husband, who has since assumed the name Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah, had also converted their three children - aged one to 12 - on April 12 without their presence and using only their birth certificates. Now Indra Gandhi fearing that she could not reconvert her children to Hindu. Read here- Anguished mom knocks on PM's door and here- Conversion row: Hindu Sangam turns to new cabinet.

And if you argue freedom of religion in Malaysia, they will reply "YOU TAK SUKA, YOU KELUAR DARI MALAYSIA!" Watch here:



3 comments:

Malaysian in Japan said...

Dear Vasan, It is a very disgusting n irritating issue that "LAIN LAIN" community in malaysia need 2face evryday. First of all,it is the mistake of the person who changes the religion altough u know that it will bring chaos n no returning back 2ur original belief. I wonder wat makes them 2do such an irresponsible action which really never benefits them in the future.. More n more of the "LAIN-LAIN" community are felling in this trap carefully laid by the Malay extremist which could eventually end up our community. Every single bodies in malaysia is showing extremist signs.. To tell u the truth, I'm v sad n unsure of my sons future in 20-30 years 2come.. As of saying, Those who sell drug is more punishable than drug addict, i think those who converts must b given death certificate not the childs n spouse..Sincerely hoping that a day will come whereby singaporean way of life is adapted here. EVEN COUNTRIES WHO ARE 100% ISLAMIST N UNDERSTANDS THE HOLY BOOK OF QURAN seems to be open minded, but malaysian islam extremist are pretending they know evrythng altough they are zero n far from the true islam teaching as wat RPK told in his writing. Anyway good article vasan, Keep on going!! My best regards 2u.

Mujib said...

sickening Malaysia :(

Anonymous said...

"Freedom of religion in Malaysia is a controversial issue. Islam is the official state religion and the Constitution of Malaysia provides for limited freedom of religion, notably placing control upon the 'propagation' of religion other than Islam to Muslims, a fundamental part of a number of other religions. However, questions including whether Malaysia is an Islamic state or secular state remain unresolved. Now it’s easy to convert to Islam but it is so difficult to return to non-Islam religions. Is this the freedom of religion means in Malaysia?"

very good