Tell families of your intention to convert, says Penang government

GEORGE TOWN - Non-Muslims intending to convert to Islam have to first inform their families of their intention before the conversion takes place, the Penang government has decided.

"This procedure will not become a law but the state Islamic Affairs Department (Jaipp) plans to impose this practice so that misunderstandings will not happen in future," said state Islamic Affairs, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs committee chairman Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim.

"The family does not have to agree; they may object to the conversion, but they must be informed," he said yesterday.

"If non-Muslims want to become Muslims, they must dare tell everyone they intend to convert to Islam.

"They (the family) can be invited to the conversion ceremony, or officers can be sent to the house to talk to the family, so they will know of the conversion," added Abdul Malik.

In a recent incident, Jaipp officers cut short a Taoist funeral ceremony that was being conducted for the remains of a woman said to have converted to Islam 17 years ago and took the Muslim name Nora Teoh Abdullah.

The Syariah Court later ruled that Teoh Cheng Cheng was not a Muslim and ordered for her body, that was taken away by the Jaipp officers, to be returned to her family.