Lately, I have 3 friends who converted to Islam as they are seeking to be married. At some point of time, they will keep their distance from friends and maybe family .. and come out with their news. It is part of the modus operandi to protect the would be to be succesfully converted. Once you sign your name, it is a one was street in Malaysia. I do respect them as they have obediently carried out the expectation of a law that is designed to enable conversion. Sometimes, we should ask the question on why converting for the other partner? Even if it is a law, are there other ways?
Anyway, here is the reason for my reflection.
An ethnic Chinese man is challenging the conversion of his baby daughter to Islam by his estranged wife, a lawyer said Thursday (5 March), the latest interreligious dispute to rock mainly Muslim Malaysia.
Hoo Ying Soon, a 28-year-old carpenter, was shocked when he received a notice two days ago from the Islamic Shariah court granting temporary custody of their 15-month-old daughter to his wife, said his lawyer Tang Jay Son.
He was told that his wife, Chew Yin Yin, 23, embraced Islam on 28 Jan while his daughter was converted on 3 Feb, Tang said.
The couple, both Buddhists, wedded Feb 2007 in southern Negeri Sembilan state but their marriage broke down in Sept, he said.
"Hoo will challenge the conversion of his daughter in the High Court because it was done unilaterally by the mother without the consent of the father. They are not divorced yet," Tang told The Associated Press.
Religious issues are extremely sensitive in Malaysia, where about 60% of the 27 million people are Muslims. Buddhist, Christian and Hindu minorities have accepted Islam's dominance but in recent years voiced fears that courts are unfairly asserting the supremacy of Islam, which is Malaysia's official religion.
Malaysia has a dual court system. Muslims are governed by the Islamic Shariah courts and non-Muslims, civil courts. But interreligious disputes almost always end up in Shariah courts, and end in favor of Muslims.
Tang said Hoo's wife, who has adopted the name Siti Zubaidah Chew Abdullah, has filed for divorce in the Islamic court with a hearing due later Thursday.
Hoo will seek an injunction in the Shariah court to prevent his wife from taking custody of their child, he said.
He has filed a suit in the High Court to question his daughter's conversion and to seek guardianship over their child, and wants the Islamic court to wait for the civil court's decision, he said. The high court has set 10 March for hearing.
"He has no problems with his wife converting to Islam but he feels it is unfair to convert their daughter," Tang said.
Hoo also is concerned that their child, Hoo Joey, has been renamed Nurul Syuhada Chew Abdullah, which doesn't carry his surname, he added.In a high profile case in 2007, an ethnic Hindu woman failed to persuade the civil court to ban her husband, who had embraced Islam, from converting their sons.
This is essentially, a loophole created for disaster.
1. If you want to get the custody of child, convert. The Syariah court would surely award the converted party the custody.
2. If you want to divorce and take on new wife ( most of the time) , convert.
3. If you want to divorce and not pay alimony, convert.
I don't think the lawmakers are really pushing to close the gap soon even though AAB said that he established a working committee on it. The law requiring conversion in marriage and the disparity between civil and syariah is creating an environment conducive for people to convert.
Malaysia is on the right direction to be a fully Islamic nation.