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MOE denies 'forced Islamic Studies' claim, says 'Hindu' student taking Moral

Published:  |  Modified:

The Education Ministry has denied claims by a parent that his purported Hindu daughter was forced to attend Islamic Studies in school.

Instead, director-general Amin Senin (above) stated that checks by the ministry have found that the Year Three pupil, nine-year-old M Luganeshvari, has been taking Moral classes since beginning primary school in 2017 right up to the current 2019 school year.

This, he said in a statement today, despite the fact that Education Act 1996 stipulates that Islamic Studies is a core subject for Muslim students and the child in question was registered as Muslim by the National Registration Department (NRD), based on her mother's religion.

This came following allegation by 50-year-old P Manivanan that his daughter is being forced to take Islamic Studies in school, even as a bid by her Hindu-born mother to renounce Islam remains under appeal. 

"The school allowed the student involved to take Moral Studies based on information provided by her father, who did not present the student's birth certificate.

"Hence, based on the initial information given by the father, the school viewed the child to be Hindu and based on that category, was allowed to take Moral classes," Amin stated today.

He added, however, the parents have yet to submit a copy of Luganeshvari's birth certificate to the school. 

This, Amin said, had been a stipulation of the 2017 allowance accorded by the Negeri Sembilan Education Department for the child to be registered as a student without documents.

Malaysiakini yesterday reported the case on Manivanan (photo), who claimed that his daughter's religion was listed as Muslim in her birth certificate despite the NRD officer registering her as Hindu when she was born.

Worse still, the father claimed the NRD omitted his name from the birth certificate.

He had explained that his wife was born a Hindu before being converted to Islam by her parents when she was three years old. She allegedly left home at 18 and married Manivanan according to Hindu rites.

His wife has reportedly applied to the Shah Alam Syariah Court to have her status as a Muslim annulled.

Muslim students must take Islamic Studies

Manivanan also claimed that due to the dispute over Luganeshvari's birth certificate, Tamil schools had refused to enrol her and she was forced to take up Islamic Studies by a national school.

The e-hailing service driver was seeking the Education Ministry's help as he claimed he was asked to send his daughter elsewhere when he tried to appeal the subject at her current school.

In today's statement, Amin said: "Following the media report, a detailed check showed that the student was registered at the NRD as Muslim, where her mother is a Muslim.

"The Education Ministry informs that under the Education Act 1996, every Muslim student must take Islamic Studies.

"[...] The school adheres to this based on the proof the student concerned is Muslim. Therefore, the issue the student concerned was forced to take Islam does not arise."

Amin, however, elaborated that as child's mother is currently appealing her religious status with the judiciary, the Education Ministry said it will be leaving the matter to the courts to decide.

"The appropriate action will be taken in line with the subsequent court decision," said Amin.

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