11 August, 2007

Muslim court orders counseling for woman seeking to renounce Islam

First Case :



clipped from in.reuters.com

Malaysia releases woman in Hindu marriage case

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Islamic authorities in Malaysia have freed a Muslim woman after detaining her for four months for marrying a Hindu, the couple's lawyer said on Saturday.

The Selangor state Islamic authorities have, however, ordered the 25-year-old ethnic Indian woman to live separately from her husband, arguing that her year-old marriage was illegal under Islam.

Islamic authorities in Malaysia have freed a Muslim woman after detaining her for four months for marrying a Hindu, the couple's lawyer said on Saturday.

The Selangor state Islamic authorities have, however, ordered the 25-year-old ethnic Indian woman to live separately from her husband, arguing that her year-old marriage was illegal under Islam.

In Malaysia, Muslims cannot marry non-Muslims.

Her case is the latest strain in the social fabric of the multiracial nation, where many non-Muslims believe the authorities and the courts are allowing their rights to be trampled by the Muslim majority.

"Her husband's family rang us up to say she has been released about three weeks ago," said Karpal Singh who had argued in the past that Najeera Farvinli Mohamed Jalali's detention was illegal because no detention order was served on her.

Her husband, a 25-year-old truck driver Magendran Sababathy, had hired Karpal to fight for his wife's freedom.

Islamic religious police had raided the couple's house in April and arrested her, arguing she was "illegally cohabiting" with a Hindu and for for failing to produce any relevant marriage documents.

A prominent rights lawyer questioned the decision to separate Najeera from her husband.

"I don't think there's a legal basis for them to do it," Malik Imtiaz Sarwar said. "I don't know whether they can do that. I don't see where the powers to do so is"

"If she is saying she is not a Muslim, the Constitution guarantees her right to say that and nobody can order her to do anything other than that."

Officials could not be immediately reached for comment on the woman's release and the order that she stay with her parents.

Just over half of Malaysia's 26 million people are Malays, who are Muslims by definition. Ethnic Chinese and Indians form the sizeable minorities and they practice either Buddhism, Christianity or Hinduism.

Last month, a 29-year-old woman said she was mentally tortured by islamic religious police during her six-month detention for renouncing Islam in favour of the Hindu religion.

In May, the country's best-known Christian convert, Lina Joy, lost a battle in Malaysia's highest court to have the word "Islam" removed from her identity card. In delivering judgment in that case, the chief judge said the issue of apostasy was related to Islamic law, and civil courts could not intervene.



Second case :



Malaysia's Muslim court orders counseling for woman seeking to renounce Islam

The Penang Syariah High Court today referred a Muslim convert to the Penang Islamic Religious Department (Jaip) for guidance and counselling.

The court also fixed Dec 3 to decide Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah's application to renounce Islam.

"The decision is shelved pending further instruction to refer the plaintiff to Jaip's Ukhuwah Unit for counselling and a report to be submitted within three months," said Judge Othman Ibrahim, reports Malaysia's national news agency Bernama.

Siti Fatimah, previously known as Tan Ean Huang, 38, from Nibong Tebal, filed her application to renounce Islam on July 10 last year.

In her affidavit, she stated that she had never practised Islamic teachings since embracing the religion on July 25, 1998.

She claimed she did not believe in Islam and that she converted to the religion to enable her to marry an Iranian by the name of Ferdoun Ashanian. The couple married on Sept 16, 2004.

Siti Fatimah filed the application to renounce Islam after her husband left her.

In her application, she claimed she continued to eat pork and practiced her Buddhist faith even after embracing Islam.

Counsel Ahmad Jailani Abdul Ghani represented Siti Fatimah while the Penang Islamic Religious Council was represented by counsel Ahmad MunawirAbdul Aziz.

In previous such cases, Malaysia's Shariah courts — which govern the personal conduct and religious lives of Muslims — have invariably ruled against people trying to renounce Islam.

The most controversial conversion case was that of Lina Joy, a woman born to Muslim parents who failed to get the Federal Court, Malaysia's top civil court, to recognize her conversion to Christianity. The court rejected her appeal to have the "Islam" tag removed from her national identity card in May, saying only the Shariah court could rule over that.

Other court disputes that ended in favor of Muslims have caused anxiety among Malaysia's large ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities — who mostly practice Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism — that their rights are becoming subordinate to those of ethnic Malay Muslims, who comprise nearly 60 percent of the country's 26 million people.



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1 Comments:

Blogger J.T. said...

Thanks for the news, Linken. I have been so out of touch with local news lately.

Whatever faith these women choose, courts may rule according to law but in the end, it is between God and them.

August 13, 2007 4:39 AM  

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