Malaysian Indian woman wants her conversion to Islam invalidated

August 4th, 2010 - 6:19 pm ICT by IANS  

George Town (Malaysia), Aug 4 (IANS) An ethnic Indian housewife in Malaysia Wednesday said she would appeal against a civil court ruling that heard her plea questioning her conversion to Islam when she was seven years old.
Siti Hasnah Bangarama Abdullah, 28, was converted along with her four siblings in 1983 when her parents, both born Hindus, embraced Islam.

She sought a declaration from the court that her conversion to Islam was invalid, Star Online reported.

She has named as defendants the country’s then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in his capacity as president of the Muslim Welfare Organisation (Perkim) and other officials concerned with her conversion.

Justice Yaacob Mohammed Sam dismissed her plea with costs after ruling that only a syriah (Islamic) court could hear her plea and that the high court did not have the jurisdiction.

The court ruled that it was the right of the parents and it was universal. If parents converted to Islam, it was only appropriate that they brought up their children under the same faith.

“This is a universal right of a parent, irrespective of what the religion is,” the judge said.

He also said the act by the parents in placing Siti Hasnah at the Ramakrishna Orphanage, an institution run by Hindus, did not mean that they had allowed her to practise Hinduism.

Siti Hasnah, who was accompanied by her husband S. Sockalingam, 32, said she would “go all the way” to get a declaration that she is not a Muslim.

Cases of conversion to Islam by non-Muslim families that break up take place in Malaysia that has a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population. At 1.7 million, ethnic Indians account for about eight percent of the population.

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