Saturday, December 29, 2007

One parent can convert a child to Islam but nobody can convert him back

Highlights the basic injustice arising from the Federal Court's judgement on Thursday.

27th December 2007


The Federal Court’s decision in the Subashini case that a non-Muslim who converts to Islam after contracting a Non-Muslim civil marriage ought to fulfill his obligations under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 is a welcome relief to non-Muslims.

However, the Federal Court’s opinion that either parent can convert a child into another religion does not take into account the special laws which will be applicable to the child when the child is converted to Islam. The other non-Muslim parent will not be able to re-convert the child out of Islam.

This is a gross injustice to the other parent.

The child will also be deprived of its right to convert out of Islam at the age of 18 under Syariah Laws in Malaysia without facing various sanctions and possible prison sentence.

A child’s religion should not be changed without the consent of both parents.

Until the child attains 18 years of age the child ought to be brought up by each parent according to the tenets of that parent’s religion while the child is under that parent’s care and control taking into consideration the delicate nature of contradicting the tenet’s of each other’s religions. There is much in common between all religions. The child should be exposed to and taught the good values acceptable to both religions without offending any sensitive feelings of either parent. This can easily be done without converting the child before the child attains the age of 18.

Converting a young child without the consent of both parents will cause much heartbreak. This conflict ought to be avoided in all the circumstances of this day and age.

Thank you,

Datuk A.Vaithilingam

No comments: