Mufti: Amend Articles in Constitution to exclude Muslims

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - The Perak Mufti has called for an amendment to be made to the Federal Constitution, which will exclude Islam from provisions that grant mothers equal rights to raise children according to their religious beliefs.

Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria said that Articles 3, 5 and 11 of the Constitution in relation to religion, liberty and freedom must therefore be amended to exclude Muslims.

"The provision (on child's religion) should be amended or added to exclude Muslims," Utusan Malaysia quoted him as saying.

The issue of non-Muslims' dissatisfaction over such an amendment should not arise in view of the existing pre-Independence social contract, he said.

Harussani said that this was following a recent High Court ruling that granted a plea by M. Indira Gandhi to reverse her estranged Muslim convert husband's unilateral decision to convert their three children, now aged 16, 15 and five.

Such cases, he said, should be heard in a Syariah court by a Muslim judge.

"(It) should have been heard in a Syariah court but because it involved a Hindu, the case could not be heard in the Syariah court, thus causing disarray," he said.

He added that the people should ask the Attorney-General how the Constitution did not allow the Syariah court to bring non-Muslims to trial.

He said that Islamic laws should be applicable in the country because Islam was the official religion, although other religions were allowed to be practised here.

Under the existing Constitution, he said that the legal aspects of Islam were not implemented and, therefore, laws that were in conflict with the Constitution were dropped.

In a landmark ruling on Thursday, the High Court had quashed the conversion certificates of Indira Gandhi's three children based on grounds that it was unconstitutional to unilaterally force a minor to embrace a different faith. The National Fatwa Council had in 2009 passed a resolution that when one of the non-Muslim parents embraced Islam, the underaged child should be placed in the custody of the Muslim parent.

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