Kuala Lumpur: A Malaysian civil court
on Wednesday dismissed the case of a Muslim woman, who was seeking
the validity of her conversion from Hinduism at the age of
seven, saying the matter was prerogative of the Islamic
Justice Yaacob Md Sam dismissed Siti Hasnah Vangarama
Abdullah`s originating summons with costs, after ruling that
the High Court did not have the jurisdiction to hear her case.
"The action brought by the plaintiff is of a subject
matter exclusively for the Islamic Shariah Court," the judge
said in his decision.
Siti Hasnah, 28, had sought a declaration from the
court that her conversion to Islam was invalid. The woman had
also appealed the court to instruct the National Registration
Department to change her religion and her Muslim name to a
Hindu one in her MyKad.
The defendants had shown sufficient documents that
Hasnah`s parents had converted to Islam in Pahang in 1983 and
subsequently converted their five children, the court said.
"The court agrees with the defendants that either the
parents or a caretaker has the right to determine the religion
of a child or children of minor age.
"This is a universal right of a parent, irrespective
of what the religion is," he said.
The judge also said the issue of conversion of the
plaintiff and her siblings, who were still underage at the
time, by their parents, was valid under the Penang Islamic
Justice Yaacob said it was only reasonable for parents
who had converted to Islam to educate and bring up their
children in accordance with Islamic teachings.
He also observed that the parents` act in placing
Hasnah at Ramakrishna Orphanage did not mean that they had
allowed her to practise Hinduism.
Justice Yaacob ruled, therefore, that Hasnah has been
a Muslim since her parents converted and is still a Muslim.
Siti Hasnah, who was accompanied by her husband S
Sockalingam, 32, an ethnic Indian hindu, said she would go all
the way to get a declaration that she is not a Muslim.