PETALING JAYA (Aug 13, 2013): The government has to come up with a concrete solution to deal with disputes over the conversion of children as court rulings will not achieve anything in the long run, civil society groups said.
They were commenting on reports that the Ipoh government, Perak Islamic Religious Department, and the Registrar of Muslim Converts have filed appeals against a High Court decision last month annulling the conversion of three Hindu children to Islam.
Lawyers for Liberty co-founder Eric Paulsen said the solution for disputes between parents should not be through the courts and that the issue calls for a political solution.
“The government needs to resolve the issue once and for all. Fighting it out in court is far too complex, especially because this is an issue between family members,” he said.
“Furthermore, even with the High Court ruling, people don’t seem to respect that judgment or take it seriously,” he added, referring to the father in the case, Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah, who has ignored the court order of July 25 to return the youngest child, Prasana Diksa, to the mother.
Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) president Sardar Jagir Singh said the number of disputes in court over the conversion of children has steadily increased each year.
“People have come to us over the past 10 years asking for advice in more than 100 such cases.
“The High Court is the final decision-maker, but its ruling will not change anything,” he added.
He said the mother, Indira Gandhi, has the option to go to the United Nations, as Malaysia has ratified three UN declarations, the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
“If the appeals are allowed, she has the option to go to the UN, as the three conventions Malaysia ratified and is obligated to follow will be jeopardised,” he said.
However, Sardar said they were not calling for international involvement, adding: “This is a Malaysian issue that our government needs to see to.
Dorothy Cheng, the Sun Daily