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YOURSAY | ‘Why must a non-Muslim subject herself to the jurisdiction of a syariah court?’

Civil courts can't rule on conversion cases, declares Appellate Court

FellowMalaysian: By declaring that the Ipoh High Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the conversion of Indira Gandhi's three children by her ex-husband, the Court of Appeal has overtly demonstrated to us that it is not prepared to defend and uphold the federal constitution on matters concerning controversial issues relating to conversion of subjects to Islam.

It is disingenuous of Justice Balia Yusof Wahi to declare in his judgment it was “beyond a shadow of doubt” when his fellow Justice Hamid Sultan Abdul Bacher had made a cogent dissenting decision.

If the judges are not prepared to uphold the laws and the constitution of the country, who else are more qualified to do so?

Aries46: Islamic justice? Secretly convert a Hindu husband and father (married under civil law). Unilaterally convert the minor children without the mother's consent.

Annul the civil law marriage and grant custody of the children to the errant husband, consigning the mother to rot without a recourse in the civil courts.

And Justice Balia has put the icing on the cake that the illegal conversions cannot be challenged in the civil courts. Does Balia expect justice for Indira, a Hindu, under syariah law that caused the upheaval in the first place?

Aryan: Don't paint all Muslims judges with the same brush. There was one dissenting judgment from Justice Hamid Sultan Abu Bacher.

In my opinion (not that it matters) it is a wonder that two other judges have come to a different conclusion and for now we do not know the basis for such decision.

Using religion to get back at your ex-spouse is the most despicable act and unfortunately the religious department is working in cahoots with the convert father.

P Dev Anand Pillai: It is a shame, all three judges were Muslims but it took the third judge, an Indian Muslim, to have the guts to call a spade a spade. Unfortunately, we just don't have enough judges of this calibre in the Court of Appeal.

The Federal Court will not be much of a help either since this decision will be more of a political decision instead of a purely legal issue, therefore the best option will be to bring this matter to the international forum.

ACR: Justice Hamid is a very learned judge. It is fundamental in law and logic that non-Muslims cannot be subject to a syariah court.

This idiocy and travesty is matched only by the Perak MB case where even written law can be interpreted in the most foolish manner.

Daniel: The case is not even a religious one as correctly pointed out by Justice Hamid as the conditions of conversion were not met, thus making it void.

In fact, the court should have found the respondents guilty of deliberate bad faith in the conversion and for kidnapping.

Tan Kim Keong: Indeed, is the argument and issue about the legality of unilateral conversion or if someone is a Muslim? Which comes first in this case? Legality of unilateral conversion or status thereafter?

Am I getting confused or these appellate court judges are?

Anonymous 29051438068738: Muslims with even a modicum of decency in them will see the cruel injustice perpetrated on this helpless mother tormented for seven long years by the 'kidnapping' of her child with the active connivance of the public redress system.

But given the public quiet since the news broke, we may justly conclude that what we have here are Muslims who are moved (and fashionably so) only when Palestinian/Syrian children and mothers are seen to suffer.

Roy69: Is this justice? Can the court tell us:

1. Why must a non-Muslim subject herself/himself to the jurisdiction of a syariah court?

2. Why the rights of a non-Muslim not protected under the federal constitution?

3. How could minors be converted without both parents’ consent?

4. Why preference is given to a Muslim parent over the non-Muslim parent in child custody?

Guyintheglass: It’s about time Parliament make this crystal clear. Conversion of minors to Islam should fall under civil law. Conversion out of Islam should fall under the syariah law.

Stop allowing people in a broken marriage to hide behind any religion and use children as pawns.

Shathriyan: This judgment has conveyed a very strong message to the world on what non-Muslims could expect in a Muslim-majority country.

The preaching of Islam as a religion of love and peace is not going to help in any way undo the damage done. Non-Muslims learn Islam not through such preaching but the suffering they endure due to the bigotry of some Muslims.

Res Ipsa: Just when we thought we had taken a step forward, we have now taken two steps backwards. Malaysia will never get out of the doldrums and move forward if there is no comprehensive change in mindset.

Now will the syariah courts turn around and tell Indira that she cannot appear before them on technical grounds? Please let there be some finality, at least for the sake of the children.

Visu: A judgment of this nature, shows the shallowness of the appeal court judges who seem to have forgotten that it takes moral courage to uphold the constitution and that would reflect on the ultimate strength of a nation.

If judges fail to uphold the constitution, the supreme law of the country, then they have failed the nation.

Unfortunately, the insecurity of the Muslims has transcended into the private life of the non-Muslims and is going to pose a grave danger for Malaysia in the future.

Otakechik: If I’m not a Muslim and if I have an issue with another Muslim over some Islamic issue, will I come under the syariah jurisdiction?

Vijay47: What would happen if one fine day an official from some Islamic agency stops me on the road and for some crack-pot reason insists that I am a Muslim?

Would the mere statement by someone from an Islamic group prove "beyond a shadow of doubt" that I am a Muslim? Would I then have to apply to the syariah court to confirm that I am not?

What if they refuse to do so assuming I am fool enough to approach them? And just to pre-empt any smart cookie, I am Christian.

Shathriyan: One does not need to have legal expertise to decide on cases of this nature, but mere common sense would do.

If someone at knife-point converts me and my loved ones, would these judges still say that I have no legal recourse through the common law. My goodness!

Watchmen: Yes, it looks like common sense just went for a long holiday.

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