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Sabah woman’s conversion to Islam declared illegal
Published on: Tuesday, April 16, 2024
By: Predeep Nambiar, FMT
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Sabah woman’s conversion to Islam declared illegal
The George Town High Court has ruled that a Catholic woman’s conversion to Islam was null and void from the outset.
GEORGE TOWN: A Catholic woman’s conversion to Islam four years ago has been declared invalid by the High Court here.

The 21-year-old Sabahan converted to Islam in 2020 at the age of 17 to marry her Muslim boyfriend, but he broke off the relationship a few months later.

In his decision today, Justice Quay Chew Soon said the conversion went against Penang’s state Islamic laws which mandate that the consent of both parents is required for minors to convert to Islam.

Quay said since the woman was still a minor at the time, the lack of parental consent rendered her conversion invalid from the outset.

“Ultimately, she was below 18 at the time of conversion. That is crucial. I am granting the declarations sought,” he said.

Quay also declared the woman’s conversion registered by the converts registrar on June 11, 2020 invalid.

He issued a certiorari order to cancel her Islamic conversion certificate and all other related documents.

He further directed the removal of her details from the state’s Muslim converts’ registry through a mandamus order, and declared that she remains a follower of the Catholic faith.

He made no order as to costs.

The 21-year-old waitress from Keningau claimed she was converted at the Islamic Propagation Society International’s office along Jalan Argyll here on June 11, 2020, when she was 17, according to a judicial review filing.

The woman’s parents, who are farmers in Keningau, had filed an affidavit affirming that she was a practising Catholic and had been baptised at the St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Keningau in 2005. They said they had never consented to their daughter’s conversion to Islam.

The woman had named the Penang Islamic religious council (MAINPP) and the Penang state converts’ registrar as respondents in the judicial review.

Shamsher Singh Thind and J Gunamalar appeared for the woman, while MAINPP was represented by Abd Daud Abd Rahim and Dayang Roziekah Ussin.

Deputy public prosecutors Naizatul Zima Tajudin and Charanjit Mahinder Singh appeared for the state converts’ registrar.

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