YOURSAY 'Instead of antagonising non-Muslims by bulldozing the bill through, the gov't should consider the views of other interested parties for a more judicious solution.'
'Mum's consent a must for child to be converted'
FellowMalaysian: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has rightly and courageously spoken out against allowing only one parent to convert a minor to Islam.
In their haste to push through this highly controversial bill which would have a profound effect on the innocent child caught between the tussles of the feuding parents, Umno has also adamantly ignored calls from its BN coalition parties to cease such unilateral action.
Instead of creating antagonism with non-Muslims which would likely be the case if this bill is bulldozed through Parliament, the government should first consider the views of concerned NGOs and other interested parties before deciding on a more judicious solution.
Pemerhati: By bringing out this story of Prophet Mohammad sending the child back to the mother because she had not converted, Anwar has sabotaged Umno's grand plan to show off to the Malays that they are the champions, protectors and promoters of Islam.
Their other equally if not more important aim was to as usual create dissension and tension between the Muslim and non-Muslim Malaysians and split the opposition, as that would benefit them politically.
Now PM Najib Abdul Razak must be scratching his head and wondering what to do next as the opposition is now likely to be united in opposing the Bill as they have Prophet Muhammad on their side.
P Dev Anand Pillai: What happens if the mother converts and the father doesn't? It is a convenient escape route for warring spouses in bitter divorce battles.
It will be best if children are left out of the problem. The conversion to the religion of Islam should not be used as an escape route.
Though it gives protection to those who convert, the converts in divorce cases tend to use it as a means of escape from further liabilities which they would have to bear with their former spouses.
Therefore in cases where the party concerned still wishes to convert, then he or she should just convert but not the children.
Anak, Bangsa, Malaysia: Even this is not right. If the mother embraces Islam and all her children become Muslims, surely this is not fair to the father.
By the same token, if the Muslim father becomes a Buddhist will it be fair for all the children to follow him? I am sure this is not fair too.
Therefore, to my dear Muslim legislators, put yourself in the shoes of the non-Muslims and see if this is fair. The universal truth is to practice what you preach and do to others what you want others to do to you.
Geronimo: Be careful, Anwar. What if it is the other way round where the father is not a Muslim and the mother is.
Does it mean that the child automatically becomes a Muslim? Religion is meant to give mankind hope and salvation, not misery such as this.
Rightan: The root cause of this is once in, you cannot get out of it (the Islamic faith). Otherwise what is the big deal. It is this rigidity that causes non-Muslims to fear conversion.
For the Chinese, we can be Taoist/Buddhist/Christian/Bahai, etc, in one life. No issue. There is no barrier at all; we only need to face God in the afterlife. That remains outside state interference.
Wanrose: Marriage brings two people together, be it the same faith or different ones. The faith of the offspring is decided by these two adults - the parents.
In a marriage of two different faiths, there is always bound to be different of opinions in raising children. So save the trouble, leave the choice to them when they reach adulthood.
WhatIwant: It's inhumane for one spouse to convert a child without the approval of the other spouse. It's really tragic if we can come to accept this. Even God cannot decide someone's faith.
Who are we to decide someone's faith unless we are manipulating it for political power? Do not stoop so low.
CiViC: We have here a situation where Muslims (Anwar and PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang) are discussing with non-Muslims (DAP leader Lim Guan Eng) on Islamic issues.
On the other side, we have Umno claiming monopoly right to dictate Islam as they like (to the point of infringing non-Muslims' right), with MIC, MCA or Gerakan barking to no avail. Judge for yourself.
Doc: Well, in the old days at the dawn of Islam, Prophet Muhammad was the defender of the Islamic faith and the Islamic law which he laid down came directly from Allah the Almighty.
In current times, here in Malaysia, the defender of the faith title is taken over by Umno and Umno alone dictates on how they want to interpret both syariah as well as civil law.
Similarly in Afghanistan, the Taliban came up with their version of Islamic law which is seen as cruel. Then we have a different version of Islam in Iran and Saudi Arabia, not to mention the versions in Iraq and Syria.
In short, I am glad that Anwar has decided to provide an example on this child conversion matter from what we seem is the purest and most true form of Islam, which derives from Prophet Muhammad.
Stella Ling: Why should the parents decide which religion the child must embrace?
By all means tell the child all there is to know about the religion that the parent/s would like the child to embrace by the decision to be a follower of whichever religion is ultimately the child's when he/she reaches the age of consent.
I don't agree that I should be forced to follow the religion of my parents.
Wira: The mother is normally given custody of a child in a civil divorce in most faiths (and atheists) except in the case of Muslims. The reason being society accepts that the mother is the better person to bring up the child.
If the mother dictates that the child should be brought up a Muslim as she is already one, we should accept that she has the best interest of her child in mind.
It is disastrous to bring up a child without a religious belief or having a religious belief that is different from his/her closest guardian, who in this case is the mother.
Anonymous #22878930: If either parent decides to embrace a particular faith independently, they should not be allowed by law for any reason whatsoever, to be able to impose that on a minor child.
The child should decide on its own volition upon attaining majority age. If the parent/s live their lives in an exemplary way, the child will certainly follow their path.
What's happening now is simply taking the other spouse for ransom. This is certainly not acceptable by anyone's value system.
Anonymous #40538199: Will Utusan Malaysia tell Anwar to migrate if he doesn't support the conversion bill?
Imraz Ikhbal: This is where most Muslims, including Anwar, fail to understand. Allah specifically ordains in the Holy Quran that "there is no compulsion in religion".
A child may be born in a Muslim family but that does not automatically make him/her Muslim. He or she must grow of age and through the faculty of intellect embrace the advocacy and virtues of the religion. Only then will Islam be their embrace.
So technically speaking, it is impossible for a child to be converted to Islam or any other religion even if both parents consent. Religion is an ideology of belief and a way of life.
Be whatever printed on your identity cards, your religion is what you manifest in life and the virtues that regulates your speech, conduct, thoughts and way of life.
I don't expect many Muslims in this world to even know this, leave alone agree to what I've said.
Both my toddlers shall be taught the teachings of Islam as ordained by the Holy Quran and exposed to all the virtues of other religions and their respective Books.
They won't be taught that one religion is superior than the other and neither will they be allowed to regard themselves as superior to others who follow other religions.
Instead of focusing on the differences of the religions, they shall be taught to identify the common virtues advocated by the various religions and be nurtured to appreciate how great Allah is in the diversity of His creations.
Insyallah, they will be blessed with the faculty of intelligence and humble morality so thereupon may they be divinely guided to the right path of the Almighty.
May Allah assist me in raising true and noble Muslims so they may bring love and betterment to the society and thereby resurrect the pride and dignity of the beautiful religion of Allah in the eyes of the world.
That's the least I can do to remedy the bigotry that has plagued my religion.
Abasir: "I don't expect many Muslims in this world to even know this, leave alone agree to what I've said."
Only Muslims who are absolutely secure in themselves and who are completely confident that Islam as a belief system does not depend on the number of Muslims but on their quality will agree with Imraz Ikhbal.
In Malaysia, unfortunately, such Muslims are as rare as a blue moon.
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