Wednesday 18 April 2007

The UGLY Side of Selangor Religious Department (Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor):Tearing Family Apart in the Name of ISLAM

Read here in Malaysiakini (need subscription

"This is the latest in heart-rendering family sagas like in the case of R Subashini where human rights are completely ignored. Such incidents should be stopped." - Lim Kit Siang, MP
Excerpts: Read here article by Yoges Palaniappan
for more

"... Seven officers from the Selangor Religious Department (Jais) came to rubber tapper P. Marimuthu's house in Kampung Baru Tambahan Ulu Yam on April 2.

He was told that his wife of 21 years Raimah Bibi was a Muslim. She and their children, aged between four and 12, must be placed in a rehabilitation centre.

He also claimed that an ‘ustaz’ (religious scholar) had told him to convert to Islam or threatened to charge him for khalwat (close proximity) with Raimah, 40.

P. Marimuthu has 6 six childen. The couple’s eldest son was staying with an uncle at that time.

The 44-year-old rubber tapper said he had no choice but to let the officers take his family away.
Raimah, who returned to help him with the rubber tapping work two days later, told him that JAIS had placed the family in the nearby Kampung Melayu Liga Emas.

She purportedly said the villagers, who are predominantly Malays, have been asked to keep an eye on her daily activities and prevent her from meeting outsiders, especially her husband.

Marimuthu said he felt threatened by the villagers’ stares when he attempted to visit his wife and children.

My wife was so afraid that she refused to come out and talk to me. I had no choice but to leave that village,” he said.

According to him, Raimah managed to sneak their children over to his house several times without anybody’s knowledge.

We will be together for some time and then she’ll leave again to the other house,” he said.

Marimuthu also does not know if his wife was a practising Muslim before they got married.

Since then, he said, the two of them have been practising Hindus.

We got married in a temple, according to Hindu rituals. All our kids were brought up as Hindus,” he said.

He said Raimah, who was adopted by an Indian Muslim family, cannot remember her adopted mother and her late adopted father had approved of their relationship.

According to Marimuthu, his wife’s MyKad had stated her name as Raimah Bibi binti Noordin and her religion as Islam.

The couple did not apply to the National Registration Department (NRD) to have this corrected either.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang, who accompanied Marimuthu, said the authorities learnt about Raimah’s ‘religious status’ when the couple enrolled their children into a school and copies of their identity cards were submitted to the education department.

It is a simple mistake that has brought a great tragedy to the family,” he said, adding that the matter must be checked with the authorities in order for the family to be reunited.

This is the latest in heart-rendering family sagas like in the case of R Subashini where human rights are completely ignored. Such incidents should be stopped,” he stressed.

COMMENTARY: in Disquiet Blog by Lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar

"..The law requires that the welfare of the children be the paramount consideration.

The law also requires that all of us be treated equally. And yet, it would seem that those amongst us charged with the welfare of the nation and its citizens appear to think otherwise.

What justifies tearing a family apart, separating children from their parents?

Islam does not. The law does not.

How can we even begin to understand the anguish of the father, the mother and the children?

How can we even begin to understand that some believe that the law countenances, warrants, such cruelty?

Someone has to be made accountable for this.."

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