Why choose fatwa over civil laws? UN committee asks Putrajaya

Source: Malaysia Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — The Malaysian government should state the legality of Islamic edicts or fatwas and why they take precedence over civil laws despite not being legally binding, a United Nations (UN) committee has said.

The question was posed by Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, the vice-chair of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) committee in Geneva, Switzerland yesterday during a review of Malaysia’s progress on women’s rights which was broadcast live.

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When civil courts and fatwa committees collide: The ‘bin Abdullah’ case

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Lawyer Latheefa Koya says that the Court of Appeal was right to say the NRD cannot be bound by such fatwas. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 ― The Court of Appeal’s landmark ruling this week allowing a Muslim child the right to bear his father’s name though he was conceived before his parents married has once again exposed the conflict between civil and Muslim laws in Malaysia.

Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria was reportedly outraged by the appellate court decision, claiming it had gone against the Federal Constitution which recognises Islam as the religion of the federation and should have followed a 2003 National Fatwa Committee’s decision on Muslim children conceived out of wedlock.

Harussani went on record to say that Muslims are obliged to obey Islamic laws even if “worldly laws have rejected them”.

This throws up two questions: Are civil courts legally bound to obey fatwas? Secondly, can or should civil laws be amended to be Shariah-compliant, failing which Muslims should be exempted from them? Read more

No dad’s name for ‘out-of-wedlock’ kids till top court rules, NRD says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

National Registration Department director-general Datuk Yazid Ramli (left) said children conceived out of wedlock would not get to bear their father’s name, despite the Court of Appeal’s landmark decision. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 — The National Registration Department (NRD) said today children conceived out of wedlock will not get to bear their father’s name, despite a landmark decision allowing so by the Court of Appeal.

The department’s director-general Datuk Yazid Ramli said it maintain the status quo with regards to Muslim children conceived such a way as has applied to challenge the appellate court ruling with the Federal Court.

“The current implementation at the NRD in regards to a Muslim child conceived out of wedlock to bear the father’s name will continue as usual.

“Any amendment to the implementation will only be considered after the Federal Court decision,” he said in a statement.

He explained that the decision to keep to the status quo was based on the previous High Court decision that under Islamic laws, Muslim children are not allowed to bear the name of their purported father as they were born less than six months into their parents’ marriage. Read more

Lawyer: Decision in Deepa’s case failed to address unilateral conversion, legal reforms still needed

Source: The Malay Mail Online

S. Deepa speaks to members of the media at the Federal Court in Putrajaya. — Picture by Yusoff Mat Isa

S. Deepa speaks to members of the media at the Federal Court in Putrajaya. — Picture by Yusoff Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 ― Legal reforms are urgently need to address issues of unilateral conversion in interfaith custody battles, a lawyer has said, and that the Federal Court’s decision in S. Deepa’s case did not resolve this.

Lawyer M. Kulasegaran, who represented Indira Gandhi ― whose children were also unilaterally converted to Islam, believes that MPs needed to implement amendments to ensure such cases did not occur again.

He said this after Deepa’s two children, who were converted to Islam by their father, were split up with each parent receiving custody of one child.

“Rounding up all this, all these issues don’t bring finality to this matter. Necessary amendments must come forth by the March parliamentary session. Read more

3 acts to be amended, resolving conflict between shariah and civil courts, says minister

Source: The Malaysian Insider

The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) will amend three acts to resolve the conflict of jurisdiction between the shariah and civil courts, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri.

“The issue arising from the conflict of jurisdiction between the Shariah Court and civil court when one spouse converts his or her religion is expected to be resolved when the amendments to the three acts are made.

“For example, the government’s effort in dealing with sensitive issues including religious conversion, where in this case, the proposed amendments of three acts; Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) 1976 (Act 164), Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993 (Act 505) and Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 (Act 303) are now being taken into consideration.”

Nancy said the government always improved and introduced new laws in the country so that the stability and unity among the people would be maintained.

“In the proposed amendment, if a non-Muslim spouse converts into Islam, he should first settle all the obligations and liabilities under the law governing his or her civil marriage, Act 164, such as marriage dissolution, granting alimony to the ex-wife and children, child custody and division of marital assets.” – Bernama, September 4, 2015.