Malaysia’s Islamist political party (PAS) has urged the religious authorities across the states in Malaysia to immediately amend the conditions of religious conversion so that children can be converted unilaterally, despite it being considered unlawful according to the Federal Court decision in 2018.
Unilateral conversion means the religious conversion of underage children can be carried out with the consent of either the mother or father and not require the consent of both, which is the practice in a few states.
This comes after single mother Loh Siew Hong won a legal challenge to overturn the detention of her 3 children who were unilaterally converted to Islam by her ex-husband, the Dewan Ulamak PAS Pusat branch of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) had released a statement on their Facebook, referring to Loh’s case and called for all states to adopt unilateral conversion, despite it being considered unlawful.
PAS demanded that the Syariah Court be given jurisdiction in cases related to Muslims and religious conversion.
“Dewan Ulamak PAS Pusat calls for a constitutional amendment in the Ninth Schedule of the state list to empower the Syariah Court of jurisdiction to conduct judicial reviews on cases related to Muslims, especially those related to religious conversion so that no more conflicts like this occur in the future,” they wrote, adding that all states should follow this.
PAS also urged everyone to respect the choice made by Loh’s children to remain Muslims. “Stop making accusations that they were forced to convert to Islam when it was done with their consent and the consent of the children’s father,” it said, adding that the government and all parties should give priority to the welfare of Puan Loh’s 3 children who have chosen Islam as their faith so that they will not be disturbed and forced to return to apostasy.
“Muslims have been patient for a long time and we do not want the religious harmony guaranteed by the Federal Constitution to inflame the sentiments and anger of Muslims,” PAS said.
In addition, PAS also proposed that the government establish a Religious Mediation Committee to ensure the welfare of Muslim children under the care of non-Muslim mothers, fathers or guardians so that the children’s faith will be preserved.
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