Ethnic Indian Hindu children converted in Malaysia

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 15:12

Kuala Lumpur: Two minor ethnic Indian Hindu children in Malaysia have been converted to Islam without their mother`s consent, triggering protests from the country`s Bar Council which called unilateral conversion as illegal.

According to a media report, ethnic Indian Hindu woman identified as S Deepa, 29, from Jelebu, discovered that her husband, who left her 16 months ago, had converted their two children without her knowledge.

The husband alleged that Deepa had been having an affair with another man and could not take care of their children.

Citing the Federal Constitution, Bar Council president Christopher Leong said one parent did not have the right to convert the children without the other`s knowledge.

"The unilateral conversion of minors to any religion by a parent, without the knowledge or consent of the non-converting parent, creates social injustice, violates the rights of the non-converting parent, and is contrary to our constitutional scheme," he said in a statement.

Leong said the Constitution ensured that no one was required to take part in any ceremony or worship any other religion than their own.

He said the Constitution determined that a minor`s (under 18 years) religion was to be decided by both parents, in cases where they were both alive.

"Accordingly, unilateral religious conversions of any minor children in breach of this are unconstitutional," he said.

Leong cited a Cabinet directive by then Law Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz who said that the children of an estranged couple were to remain in the religion of their parents at the point of their marriage.

Muslim majority Malaysia has a mixed population including ethnic Indians and ethnic Chinese.

First Published: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 15:12

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