Muslim clergy opposes Badawi’s proposal on conversion

April 29th, 2008 - 5:30 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, April 29 (IANS) Senior Islamic leaders of Malaysia have rejected a proposal by Prime Minister Abdullah Amad Badawi that requires non-Muslims wishing to convert to Islam to inform their family before doing so. Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) director-general Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz said it was decided at a recent conference that met to streamline Syariah, the Islamic laws and civil laws.

“Based on Syariah laws, there is no ‘nas’ (quotations from the Quran to prove or settle a point) compelling a person wishing to convert to Islam to inform the family before doing so,” Wan Mohamad said in a statement Monday.

The conference also decided that the need to inform loved ones should be left to the discretion of the person wishing to convert.

Wan Mohamad said present Syariah laws on conversion and related matters were sufficient and the present practices should be continued.

“Nevertheless, provisions for registration, custody and the education of converts need to be formulated in a more effective manner,” The Daily Star quoted him as saying Tuesday.

Wan Mohamad added under the Syariah laws, the duties and responsibility of the convert towards his non-Muslim parents did not stop after the conversion.

Badawi had said the government would introduce a regulation requiring non-Muslims wishing to convert to Islam to inform their family before doing so.

He said this would prevent problems of families disputing the conversion of their loved ones when they die.

Conversion by non-Muslims to Islam and the jurisdiction of courts while settling disputes that arise out of the conversion has been an issue in Malaysia.

Enunciating Badawi’s views, minister in the Prime Minister’s department Zaid Ibrahim has stressed all laws should be able to address “the dissatisfaction and problems of various races in the country”.

He pointed out that in a multiracial country, the government should seek the views of the people, instead of acting unilaterally.

“For example, in formulating the Federal Territories Islamic Family Law, the government must make sure that it also takes care of the interest of the non-Muslim community.

“Any party which proposes to charge a non-Muslim with zinah for committing adultery with a Muslim should state clearly under which law and section can this be done,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

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