Sunday 22 April 2007

UPDATE: The UGLY Side of JABATAN AGAMA ISLAM SELANGOR : Tearing a Family Apart in the Name of ISLAM

From The Straits Times by Carolyn Hong - READ HERE

Read HERE Related Article in earlier posting on same issue and HERE and HERE



"The time has come for people of reason to say: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH"
-Richard Dawkins


" 1. The Case of Marimuthu Periasamy

.... A Hindu rubber tapper, Marimuthu Periasamy, on Thursday filed an application in court for the release of his wife and six children who were taken away by Islamic religious officials two weeks ago.

They did not tell him why, but he believes that they were sent for rehabilitation on the grounds that they are Muslims.

He stated in his affidavit that he and his wife, Mrs Raimah Bibi Noordin, are Hindus, and their children are being brought up as Hindus.

According to Mr Marimuthu, seven officers from the Selangor religious department took his wife and children away from their home in Ulu Yam Lama, a village in Selangor. Mr Marimuthu, 44, then lodged a report with the Ulu Yam Baru police station.

He said he met his wife only once since she was taken away, when she returned to help out in rubber-tapping, and she told him the family is now staying in a nearby Malay village.

Mrs Raimah Bibi is an Indian who was adopted by an Indian Muslim family as a child. Her religion was recorded as Islam when she applied for a MyKad, an identity card. The couple's children are registered as Hindus.

2. The Case of Mrs. Revathi Masoosai

In another controversy, a woman, Mrs Revathi Masoosai, lost her 15-month-old daughter to her Muslim mother.

Mrs Revathi, 29, was sent to a rehabilitation centre.

She was born to Indian Muslim parents but claimed that she was raised as a Hindu by her grandmother. She married according to Hindu rites in 2004, but the marriage is not legally recognised.

Her husband is fighting for the return of his wife and daughter. The case came to light when a DAP lawmaker brought it up in Parliament.

'It is most shocking that there is a lengthening list of cases of families being broken up by religious authorities,' parliamentary opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said.

Race relations in Malaysia are increasingly being strained by the series of religion-related disputes. The government has yet to take steps to resolve the tension despite promising to do so more than a year ago.

The AG's Chambers is also reviewing laws on marriage and divorce relating to the conversion to Islam of young children.

This became an issue after two controversial cases in which the mothers nearly lost custody of their children after their estranged husbands converted their children to Islam.

Former Bar Council president Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari, who was involved in the initial discussions, said the revised law would require those who entered into a civil marriage to resolve subsequent problems in a civil court even after conversion.

Currently, Muslim religious leaders are, by choice, not represented in any of the interfaith organisations.

COMMENTARY : Read here for more

" The ugly face of religion has surfaced again in Malaysia. The Islamic department (Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor) intends to separate the family and place the wife and children in a rehabilitation center.

This is simply outrageous.
A rehabilitation center?

Do all Hindus have some kind of disease that they need to be cured of?

Does it make sense for the state to break a family up and cause trauma and distress just to uphold some outdated and intolerant religious law?

Is there religious freedom in Malaysia anymore? The sad truth is that in Malaysia, Islam has precedence over all other religions.

If you are a Christian, Hindu or Buddhist, you are free to practise or renounce your religion, but if you or your spouse or your parents have the slightest involvement with Islam, you lose your civil religious rights.

Any disputes will be handled by the Islamic court under Islamic laws instead of the civil court.

I'm more concerned with issues of ethics.

We should NOT see this as an Islamic issue. Therefore it should be governed by a DIFFERENT set of rules.

Why should Muslims be treated any differently from other religions?

The universal declaration of human rights says that everyone is born free and equal without distinctions of any kind such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

If a Hindu and a Christian can live together as husband and wife, why can't a Hindu and a Muslim be allowed to live together?

And if a Christian can choose to become a Muslim, why can't a Muslim become a Christian?

Why does individual freedom of choice disappear whenever a particular religion is involved? Why should the rules be different simply because you believe in Prophet Muhammad instead of Jesus Christ or Lord Shiva?

Also, why does the Islamic Department need to resort to such aggressive tactics? Aren't there less distressful ways to handle this case? Isn't religion supposed to promote peace and harmony, not wreck havoc?

I know many rational, moderate, Malaysian Muslims will sympathize with Mr. Marimuthu's plight and feel that the family should not be broken up over weak allegations of his wife's religion. It just goes against our innate sense of human dignity and rights.

The problem is, they are NOT doing enough to oppose the state religious department.

By keeping SILENT, they are in fact protecting these fundamentalists actions. "

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