COMMENT | The Indira Gandhi case has been much talked about and has been going on for so many years. I have to admit that I felt a little bit of fatigue keeping up to date with it. Yes, I feel guilty about this, but I’m just being honest.
But now that the court has made a verdict, I feel that it is my responsibility as a journalist and especially as a Malay Muslim to actually give my reaction because although many people have commented, Malaysian society could still use more.
The Federal Court decreed that the word ‘parent’ in the unilateral conversion case related to Indira Gandhi’s and her ex-husband Muhammad Riduan Abdullah is plural. This means that their daughter’s conversion to Islam would be deemed null because Indira did not consent to it.
This is a huge verdict because it would mean that a single parent cannot make decisions when it comes to religious conversion without consulting the other parent and gaining their approval. It also means that the civil court can be used to try cases involving religion that are considered illegal.
It is also important to note that four out of five of the judges that were sitting on the case were Malay Muslims. They had expressed that the verdict was meted without being swayed by their own personal religious convictions and beliefs.
As much as this is a victory when it comes to the Federal Constitution and freedom of religion, it has caused quite a stir among religious Islamic organisations. The one that has been most vocal about it happens to be the Malaysian Association of Muslim Scholars (PUM).
First, they made a statement on their Facebook page (which has since been deleted) saying that if the police were to actively pursue looking for Indira’s ex-husband and her daughter, violence may erupt in the country....