Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Unilateral conversion to Islam - the cynical factor

MM Online - Buddhist dad wins court bid to cancel ex-wife’s unilateral conversion of kids to Islam (extracts):

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 — The High Court here quashed the unilateral conversion to Islam of two young children born to a woman who later embraced Islam and her Buddhist ex-husband.

In her decision, High Court judge Datuk Azizah Nawawi said she is bound by the Federal Court’s landmark ruling in the M. Indira Gandhi case.

Noting that it was not in dispute that the children in this case were converted without the consent of both parents, the judge said: “Therefore the court is bound by the decision in Indira Gandhi case”

the traumatic saga of M Indira Gandhi 

Naturally such problems involved Indian and Chinese couples, where one erstwhile partner converted to Islam whilst the other remained as a Hindu or Buddhist, Christian, Taoist, atheist, etc.

And in the general case, have you noted that for Indian couples, it would usually be the husband who converted to Islam, whereas for Chinese couples, the wife would be the one converted to become a Muslim.

Why have there been such a pattern? Could that be because Indian wives have been the more conservative partner, faithfully steadfast to her religion and extended family, whilst the Chinese wives were more assertive-aggressive and perhaps even religiously adventurous or more enlightened?

What I am going to say next does not apply to every instance of conversion but I have come to notice, or rather suspect a general denominator I don't particularly like. You may say that perhaps I am a suspicious guy, but I reckon in many cases (not that there have been many by nature of my suspicions) the conversions were not sincerely religious-motivated (or Islamic-motivated).

Mind, there had been one exception, the case of Susie Teoh. Dear Susie eloped to Kelantan with her Che'gu who married her at the age of 15. She of course converted to Islam.

Her aggrieved and saddened father Teoh Eng Huat sued the Kathi of Pasir Mas Kelantan and Majlis Ugama Islam for converting her daughter, a mere minor, without her father’s permission. But the High Court in KB unbelievably held that the conversion was valid, as the girl (despite being a minor) had the right to choose her own religion, provided that she did it according to her own free will.

The court then cited section 75 of Kelantan Council of Religion and Malay Custom Enactment 1966 to show the Kathi, if he was satisfied a person was a major according to Hukum Syarak, could register the person as a convert.

This ruling failed to recognise that the girl in question was (1) a minor who would be too immature to make sound decisions, and (2) a Chinese, so how could, for example, the Malay Custom Enactment apply to her. As a non-Muslim, how could Kelantan Council of Religion and the Hukum Syarak also apply to Susie Teoh, a Chinese minor?

It was inevitable the KB High Court's decision was subsequently reversed by the Supreme Court. But sadly for Mr Teoh, the Supreme Court declined to make the declaration as the issue became a moot point since Susie Teoh by then was no longer a minor.

Thus the crime of kidnapping of a non-Muslim minor and her conversion to Islam were conveniently erased by the passage of time.

I raised the above case only to show that it did not fall under what I am about to say, to wit, the cynical issue of questionable conversion to Islam.

At this stage I thought I might remind my readers that the issue of unilateral conversion by ONLY one of the parents became a problem only because the likely mistake (or ...) of the translator (or drafter) of the relevant law into the Malay language.

In the original English language, Section 107 of blah blah blah states 'parents' which means both dad AND mum (must agree to the conversion), but in the translation of that law into Malay, the translator wrote 'bapak ATAU ibu'. I am sure you understand what that implies and its significance to unilateral conversion by one of the parents.

Anyway, I am not going to revisit that law and its consequences because that is not the topic I am writing on and posting here.

My issue has to do with my suspicions, that what I observe and suspect is that one of the non-Malay-Muslims partners of an unhappy marriage who wanted sole custody of their children, might have 'used' Islam as his or her escape clause to win. Such has been the sensitivity and ketuanan-ness of the religion of Islam and Malay custom that it was a sure-victory for the Muslim convertee, well, UNTIL recently in the recent landmark decision by the Federal Court ruling in M. Indira Gandhi’s case.

I recall a case in Penang some years ago but definitely NOT before 2008, where the ex-wife just walked into her former husband life one day and took away the child who was looked after for years by the father since their breakup. Then-CM Lim Guan Eng was struck into silence because it involved a Muslim - that woman had converted to Islam prior to her seizure of a confused child.

I don't blame Guan Eng for his helplessness even though the unfortunate father was (is?) a non-Muslim Chinese and probably a supporter of the DAP. Until the recent Federal Court ruling in M. Indira Gandhi’s case, there was NO way a non-Muslim parent had an microscopic chance to win custody of the child(ren), such was the best-forgotten cowardly abdication of civil courts to syariah courts.

Another variation to this 'convenient conversion' kowtim-risation for the suspected unscrupulous ex-partner involved, and I suspect will involve, inheritance.

Picture a scenario: A bloke, say Hindu, died and immediately on his decease, his (Muslim) brother claimed the dead brother had secretly converted to being a Muslim. No one knew that except the Muslim brother who of course would be strongly supported by the overeager ulamaks. The Hindu wife could only grieved in helplessness as the remains of her late husband (a Hindu-surprisingly-discovered-to-be-a-Muslim on his death) was taken away for Muslim burial.

But who would have gotten his property according to Malay-Islamic inheritance laws?

It's not for me to advise Muslims to be more discerning on accepting convertees, especially if a convertee has or is about to suffer a broken marriage, but has children.

The sad truth is that not every convertee would necessary be a sincere asset to Islam.


  1. Mahathir's fault for making Syariah Court on par with the Civil Court.

    So you have this situation were there is a deadlock between the two courts, and the previous IGP had the cheek to refuse to execute a Court of Appeals order to find the kidnapped child and return the child to the mother.

  2. Islam, like Christianity, tends to be a "Taxi Sapu" when it comes to welcoming converts.
    Every convert is treated as a saved soul.
    Ya, some converts do it for one form of personal gain or other.

  3. Khairy did not dare say it. Malaysia signing the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights not only questions Article 153 of our constitution on the special position of Malays and Orang Asal from East Malaysia but also the freedom of the individual to choose his or her religion. Anyone attaining the age of 18 can choose to embrace or leave.

  4. Ayah ATAU Ibu or Ayah DAN Ibu? Well it is for the court to decide. Well, the court has indeed decided; Re: M. Indira Gandhi's case. Therefore, we all are bound by the aforesaid landmark decision now.

    What about on KT's suspicions? I would say in Islam we must have to prangsaka baik rather than to have prangsaka buruk if things cannot be proven. The same principles apply to Najib and Rosmah today.

    Only God knows what's inside one's heart. Even if you ambil pisau dan belah dada, you wouldn't know what's inside one's heart or niat.

    On inheritance, any assets acquired prior to one's conversion to Islam will be adjudicated according to civil inheritance law. And all assets acquired after one's conversion to Islam will follow in accordance to hukum fara'id.

    Having said all the above I am not saying that KT is wrong to harbour such suspicions on unilateral conversions.

    1. the original term in the legislation is in English and says "parents'" but the translator (into Malay) put it as 'bapa atau ibu' which though a translation mistake was until recently defended kaukau by the ulamaks

      such an important law should NEVER be beholden to a mistake by a translator

    2. this deliberate mistake is the niat jahat la...even if the chest is not pried open with a pisau to check the beating heart..bla bla bla..a religion that allows such chow kah-ness cannot be so loudly proclaimed as the most supreme religion.

    3. nothing wrong with the religion but rather the ulamaks

  5. The Federal Constitution Laws on Religion is not applicable for Moslems and the religion of Islam when they are governed by State Religious Laws on religious matters which includes marriage, conversions, inheritance, religious laws, edits, religious tax, religious restrictions etc.

    The problem only comes about when it involves between Moslems and non-Moslems in cases involving mostly custody of children, inheritance, marriage etc.

    Most non-Moslems know that and thus will convert to Islam and use the religion to their advantage in seeking wealth, divorce, marriage or custody of children or even in some cases criminal acts or protection from enforcement authorities who are mostly Moslems and thus more lax when it comes to taking actions against fellow Moslems.

    The problem comes when the Federal/State Religious authorities or the Syariah Judges/Courts always takes the side in favor of a converted Moslem in the name of protecting the religion and fellow Moslems when injustices and greed and manipulations of religion is sometimes clearly shown by a convert for his/her own interest.

    Thus to most non-Moslems Malaysians when they can clearly see that Religion is used as a tool to perpetuate injustices by converts not because of faith or true believe but for their own self greed and purpose, it becomes a very contentious issue of seeking justice for the other party who is not a Moslem.

    In normal everyday life among non-Moslems generally, nobody actually cares who wants to convert to what religion since it is one's own belief in spirituality so long as it is not forced or coerced and the person has reached adulthood and of sound mind or if a child has the consent of guardians under their care by law.

    The problem comes only when injustices is clearly seen and religion is used, supported by religious enforcement and law authorities, civil and religious courts to perpetuate and make it legal for the convert to achieve his/her own aims.

    When religion is used to perpetuate injustices by chameleon converts, religious bigots, close one eye holy men, clerics, courts and even enforcement authorities against helpless victims of such a twisted court system, it has crossed the path of human civility, morals and fairness to fellow victims.

    It has even made Religion to be seen as a farce among the millions of believers in religion worldwide.

  6. Wakakakakaka……

    "The sad truth is that not every convertee would necessary be a sincere asset to Islam."

    R u preaching to the zombies?

    The malignant T-virus has an affinity for voluminous size, regardless of the true conformity to the hive's ultimate aim!

    Sapu mana2 bolih, tak kira kualiti!

  7. tis post could trigger e boycott of all ur ultra pure Saint Najib & Hadi fans 2 leave in truckload numbers.

  8. In general all religions don't make sense, it's faith they say, but this one really messes your brain up.

  9. I may consider Potong for the personal gain of 72 Houris.....

  10. Dear Sir,
    On the point of Susie Teoh, I would like to point to you your mistakes. Firstly in Shariah, a minor becomes a major much earlier i.e. once they’re sexually matured and Secondly, the Shariah law application is valid here because of her muslimness despite her chineseness.
    Thank you

    1. disagree with you - when Susie Teoh eloped to Kelantan, she was still a Chinese and her minority status was determined under secular laws, thus she couldn't be converted as a minor without parental consent.

      That she was converted demonstrated the illegality and shamefulness of the syariah courts who had no jurisdiction over a kidnapped non-Muslim Chinese minor.

      Subsequently this was confirmed by the Supreme Court,

      The shame of the syariah was not only in its act of double illegality (i. illegal conversion, ii. tolerating a Muslim man who kidnapped a non-Muslim minor) but in its seeming desperation to cradle-snatch a minor as a convert - malu lah.