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, 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.
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
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: