Insert unilateral conversion ban or just scrap Bill altogether, faith group insists

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7- The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) has urged Putrajaya to reinstate a unilateral conversion ban clause which was earlier revoked from the a proposed Bill today.

Its vice president Jagir Singh told Malay Mail Online that since Section 88A in the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill 2016 has now been withdrawn, injustices will continue for a non-converting spouse whose children can then be unilaterally converted.

“Our council hopes that the newly-amended Bill which is due to be tabled tomorrow, if it does not include the requirement that both parents should consent, then it should be withdrawn altogether and brought back to the drawing board again.

“This is a big setback to the justice in such cases where the marriage is under the civil law, and one party has converted to Islam. This move will cause further injustice to the non-converting spouse,” Jagir said when contacted. Read more

SIS: Dropping unilateral conversion ban a failure to serve justice

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — Sisters in Islam (SIS) today expressed its disappointment over Putrajaya’s decision to abort Section 88A, designed to ban unilateral conversion of children to Islam, from the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill.

SIS also pointed out that unilateral conversion cases often inflict extensive emotional sufferings onto parents like Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi, and this proves a critical need for amendments to the said Bill to prevent similar cases from recurring.

“SIS would like to reiterate that the current law has failed to serve justice or provide substantive legal recourse for the non-converting spouse which subsequently will cause more pain and harm towards them.

“With the long-drawn court processes in having to address jurisdictional issues, more often than not, prolongs the uncertainty and denies justice to be immediately upheld for the families concerned,” the women’s group told Malay Mail Online in a statement.

Indira, a pre-school teacher, made national headlines following her years of court battle, after her ex-husband, a Muslim convert, also converted their three children.

The group also criticised Putrajaya for having “lack of commitment” despite promising to address the matter in 2016. Read more

Without unilateral conversion ban, what reform is left? Hindu mom asks Putrajaya

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — Putrajaya’s decision to has left a Hindu mother disappointed with the reform promised by the government.

M. Indira Gandhi lamented the futility of her lengthy legal battle for the custody of her child who was unilaterally converted into Islam, Prasana Diksa, that made national headlines years ago — and still does.

“What were all those years of battle for?” the mother of three asked in exasperation, when contacted by Malay Mail Online.

“So what’s the use of amending the Bill? We are fighting for that Section 88A only. Since they have dropped it, what other new things are they really going to bring in the Bill?”

Putrajaya had earlier today withdrew a Bill from Parliament that would have prohibited the religious conversion of children needing only the consent of one parent after conservative Muslims protested against it. Read more

Putrajaya withdraws Bill banning unilateral child conversions

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Infographic by MMO

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 ― The government has withdrawn a Bill from Parliament that would have prevented the religious conversion of children to Islam with the consent of just one parent after conservative Muslims protested against it.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman informed the withdrawal of the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill 2016 in the Dewan Rakyat this morning.

In a statement issued later, Azalina said the government will table a new version of the Bill for first reading tomorrow, but with the removal of Article 88(A) that states that should a spouse convert to Islam, a child must remain in the religion of the parents during their marriage prior to the conversion unless both spouses agree to convert their child to Islam, subject to the child’s wishes upon turning 18.

She said the government was amending the Bill to prevent any conflict with the Federal Constitution and that the amendment was in line with the “stare decisis” doctrine, which obligates courts to look to precedent when making decisions, where the highest court’s decision on the interpretation of Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution is bound. Read more