High time for the leaders to act

High time for the leaders to act

In ancient days, they engaged in bloody wars in muddy fields in the name of God, when it was usually to colonise lands and increase their power base.

These days, wars are being fought over children in our civil and Syariah courts. You may not see blood but the smallest microcosm of our society, the family unit, is being torn apart, again in the name of God.

The conversion-cum-custody battles in Chang Ah Mee, S. Shamala, R. Subashini, M. Indira Gandhi and now S. Deepa traipsing through the courts are clear examples of this.

Lest one thinks this is a trend among fathers only, in Nedunchelian V. Uthiradam v. Nurshafiqah Mah Singai Annal, the mother embraced Islam and converted their four children below the age of 18 unilaterally.

One can understand parents wanting their offspring to follow their faith.

And some faiths oblige parents to ensure their children receive instruction in the religion.

For example, during infant baptism, a practice followed by some Christian denominations, the child's parents, godparents and other relatives and church members pledge to raise the infant in the religion and provide instruction in the Bible and the articles of their faith.

Similarly, Muslim parents are to ensure their children receive instruction in the Quran, tajwid (elocution) and hadiths (sayings and practices of Prophet Muhammad) and their religious obligations.

The difference between the two Abrahamic faiths in Malaysia, however, is that a child with the former upbringing has the religious and legal freedom to change his faith at any stage in his life.

Several Islamic law experts have consistently written of the need for caution in converting a child but it keeps happening.

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