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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Siti Fatimah Tan Reverting Case Blows Secularism Out the Window in Malaysia




I read the Malaysiakini report on Siti Fatimah revert back to her original religion and I feel I am compelled to write. (www.malaysiakini.com/news/82522)

I also managed to watch the interview with the syariah lawyer representing Siti Fatimah,
Mr. Ahmad Jailani. It can be viewed at these addresses below:
a. www.youtube.com/watch?v=echaEOz0OrU and
b. www.youtube.com/watch?v=Axt5CLbPb04&feature=related
(Note: Can also be viewed at the bottom of this blog)

What I’ve learnt from the interview can be summed up in these points: A

1. Siti Fatimah applied for her Islamic Faith status to be annulled on the grounds that she never practiced Islam and never believed in the Islamic faith
2. Siti Fatimah took the right step by referring to the Syariah Court
3. There was no malice on the part of Siti Fatimah or the Syariah court. The case was decided on merits
4. The Penang Syariah court decided that Siti Fatimah was never a Muslim, to start off with, and that her conversion did not meet the standard of a Muslim
5. Never is this a decision by the Syariah court to support apostasy or a change of religion.

I see this as a major step forward and the precedence can be applied to solve many of the “apostasy” problems in Malaysia. In my analysis, most of the application for “apostasy” is made by converts who converted on the basis of marriage only.

Many of these converts never practiced or never believed in the Islamic faith. Their respective spouse was also irresponsible as they did not make any effort to educate or train their spouses in the Islamic faith.

In the event of a divorce, these “converts” were left in a limbo. They don’t believe in their newly converted religion, but at the same time, they cannot go back to their original faith.

The Penang court decision provides a legal exit for these converts. This would mean that they can go to their respective Shariah courts and get their Islamic declaration annulled.

If any, the Shariah Court should punish their respective ex-spouse for not taking care of their newly converted ex-wives/husbands.

DISRESPECTING THE SHARIAH COURT IS NOT THE SOLUTION

There are those in our community, namely “Muslim” individuals like Malik Imtiaz and Haris Ibrahim and organizations like the Bar Council, who thinks that the solution to this problem is by disrespecting the Shariah Courts.

May I remind them that the Shariah courts in Malaysia still maintain the respect and trust of the Muslim population of Malaysia. None can equate them with the corrupted judiciary of the Malaysian civil courts where judges are up for sale at the highest bidder.
The statement from Bar Council Vice President, Mr. Ragunath Kesavan, and I quote:

"It should be the high court which decides on this issue as some states in Malaysia do not provide for converting out so the high court remains the best place to sort this out,"

is not only arrogant, but also ignorant.

Why do I use the word ignorant? Until and when the Syariah courts issues a decree nullifying the Islamic faith of an individual, that particular “Muslim” is subjected to the Islamc laws and regulations, thus the Syariah courts.

As for “Muslim” individuals like Malik Imtiaz and Haris Ibrahim, my only advice is for them to start realizing that Muslims have sought independence from their respective ex-western colonial powers.

It will be a major step back is Muslims have to go back and adopt beliefs and ideologies espoused by former Western colonial powers. Especially when they themselves are also guilty of breaking the same rules. For instance, the US who goes around blacklisting people for violating “human rights” are themselves guilty of committing torture.

And not to mention the countless Human Rights violation committed by their allies. The closest that I can quote from memory is the massacare committed by the Uzbekistan regime against demonstrators which is reported by all international media. The US chose to remain quiet and because Uzbekistan helped them in removing the Taliban from Afghanistan.

So much for upholding Human Rights. Western powers are as hypocrites and we, as Muslims, should not uphold their hypocrisy.

CONCLUSION

a. The “abandoned-convert” problem is a real problem. And the Penang Shariah court ruling provides a practical solution to a real problem. The call to battle made by Haris Ibrahim or Malik Imtiaz or their likes are nothing more than maneuverings by ideologues trying to capitalize on public insecurity in their effort to promote their secular liberalism ideology. Mind you that Secular Liberalist stand on religion is 100% contradictory to Islam. This is a fact.

b. Malaysians should be made wary of the small minority effort to undermine Islam. Their intention is never to solve a real problem plaguing real Malaysians. Their so-call solutions will only lead to more problems thus compromising the social fabric of this country

c. The Penang Shariah court ruling also proves that Malaysian Shariah court, while maintaining their discipline to the Islamic teachings, is also flexible and able to solve real problems of the day. It’s actually the function of ijtihad.

(Taken from www.malaysiakini.com/news/82522)

Syariah Court allows convert to renounce Islam May 8, 08 1:51pm

The Syariah Court in Penang has allowed a Chinese convert to siti fatimah tan abdullah tan ean huangrenounce Islam in a rare decision today.

Apostasy, or renouncing the faith, is one of the gravest sins in Islam and a very sensitive issue in Malaysia where the Islamic courts have rarely allowed such renunciations and have also jailed apostates.

Syariah Court judge Othman Ibrahim said he had no choice but to allow an application by cook Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah to renounce her faith and return to Buddhism.

"The court has no choice but to declare that Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah is no longer a Muslim as she has never practised the teachings of Islam," Othman told a packed courtroom.

"I order the conversion certificate to be nullified," he added.

Siti Fatimah or Tan Ean Huang, 38, said she had never practised Islamic teachings since she converted in 1998 and only did so to enable her to marry Iranian Ferdoun Ashanian.

The couple married in 2004 but since then her husband has left her following which she filed for the renunciation.

Siti happy with the outcome

Othman said it was clear from witnesses and the evidence presented that Siti had continued to practise Buddhism even after her conversion.

He rebuked the state Islamic religious council for not counselling and looking after the welfare of new converts.

"In this case, it is clear that the council has failed to live up to its responsibilities and the outcome is clear for all to see," he said.

Siti said she was happy with the court's decision.

"I'm relieved that the matter is finally settled after two years and I am now looking forward to doing something with my life again," she said.

The Islamic syariah courts operate in parallel to civil courts here but apply specifically to Muslims.

Bar Council vice-president Ragunath Kesavan said Sharia courts should not be the final arbiters in deciding cases of renunciation.

"It should be the high court which decides on this issue as some states in Malaysia do not provide for converting out so the high court remains the best place to sort this out," he said.

The court's verdict comes amid racial and religious tensions in multiracial Malaysia, where minority religious groups fear their rights are being undermined, even though the country is traditionally seen as moderate.

Siti now has one more hurdle ahead of her, which is to remove the word 'Islam' from her national identity card.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

so you are trying to interpret Islam in the narrowest way possible so that it could satisfy your ego.

Religion is there so that the person professing it can be a better human being and become closer to God, whether it is Krishna, Buddha, Jesus or Allah.

If being a Buddhist cant make one a better human being and if Islam is able to, why not the person profess the religion he/ she is more comfortable with.

If it's Ok for you that a Buddhist can become a Muslim, why is not Ok for the same Buddhist to become a Buddhist again. There cant be one rule for Muslims and another for non Muslims.

What hurts Muslims, hurts non muslims too and vice versa.

Pls dont make Islam look like a religion which is not campassionate and not understanding and most of all a religion which is not suitable for people of the 21st century

bahai-majusi said...

Just a matter of interest, did the Syariah Court bother to investigate the religion of the Iranian?

Was he a Shia who may practice "Contract Marriage" [muta'ah] or is he a Bahai which started in Iran or a Majusi {Zoroastarian} or this Iran simply told the Malaysian Qadi he is simply a Muslim?

Just out of curiousity!

after life said...

apostasy is sinful ?

what abt those who commit other sins ? Like rape their own sisters ? Zina ? Drugs ? Liquor ?

arent they all sinners too ?

what about a person who has renounced Islam but is a good human being. No lies, no corruption, no drugs, no rape. He follows is new religion and becomes a good human being and help his fellow human beings without colour or religious discrimination ?

will he be punished too in the
" after life " ?

Don't give sick comments

Anonymous said...

If syariah courts are so cool that they can replace civil courts by this one example...I can't stop wondering if u have short memory or are u actually in malaysia...
What about Revathi's case what about all that body snatching cases which were not at all transparent what about those cases where police was used to snatch bodies of so called muslims ...just to mention a few.
Basically you can claim your syariah is God's (since I am not allowed to used Allah!)law. Don't forget its human who is implementing ..so don't claim its perfect my friend.
Go ask how many women ..MUSLIMS women are complaining about the double standards and injustice the syariah court does to them. why you Musims get so exited when some one converts into ur religion and will not accept that the opposite is also possible. All you all know is to kill anyone who does not want to follow you rules.
Look at Lina Joys misery. U guys are just a bunch of hypocrites.

Tulang Besi said...

anonymous says:
"What about Revathi's case what about all that body snatching cases which were not at all transparent what about those cases where police was used to snatch bodies of so called muslims ...just to mention a few."


MY REPLY: THe body snatching was done by JAIS and JAWI under the BN.

Mahkamah Syariah doesn't do body snatchings

Tulang Besi said...

after life,

I always understood that apostasy is a sin against God. God does not condone treason against Him.

Thus far, treason is regarded as a big offense to whomever.

Funny u think that treason is not a sin???

Anonymous said...

JAIS JAWI what ever follows the syariah law. What law do these bodies follow. Dont all these bodies follow any guidelines/ LAW? wHAT WAS THE SYARIAH COURT DOING WHEN THESE BODIES/ ORGANIZATIONS BULLZODING THROUGH. SO WHAT DOES SYARIAH COURT DO WHEN THESE PEOPLE GO AROUND DOING THINGS THE NON ISLAMIC WAY. WHY NO MUSLIMS OR SYARIAH COURT SAY OR DO ANYTHING? COZ ITS FOR UR ADVANTAGE?

Anonymous said...

Why did you use open and closed inverted commas to the word 'Muslims' when describing Malik Imtiaz and Harris Ibrahim? And why are you so condescending as to proffer your by now very much sought after advice to these 2indivuduals? Both of them are concerned with the jurisdiction of the syariah court and it is speaks volumes of your purported ability to hold a debate when you stoop low enough to condemn these 2 as western stooges without any forceful reply on your part to that central plank of an argument that they are putting forth!
You should be ashamed of your self.

Anonymous said...

Tulang besi said :
""Thus far, treason is regarded as a big offense to whomever.

Funny u think that treason is not a sin???"""


What has it got to do wt 'treason' when a person does good deeds, maybe the only 'treason' I can thk off is treason to the muslim community but NO never treason to GOD . . .

Geeezzz , I wonder when a non-muslim convert to muslim, is it also "treason". That'll be a scary thought


When Archangel Gabriel reveal the Quran to Prophet Mohammed, he has stated very clearly there is no compulsion in religion,
yet we human keep adding thingsss onto the islam way of life, things like Sunnah, wahabism etc. . . .


Let a person who found his spirituality wt another religion be his /her own problem, why do we as outsiders have to interfere, brainwash or even threaten another person. Who are we ?? Did GOD spoke to any of us to take action , or because we are just jealous or envy or betray ??


.... what GOD has decide for each & every one of us will be reveal at his own choosing and it is not for us to question !!


As a person, it is more importantly be a person with love, compasion & humanity at heart & deeds.


For always remember, GOD/ALLAH hates those who sow the seed of hatred among humanity for they will be burnt in eternity......just because you are a muslim who pray 5X a day without fail or a religious person of another faith ......the punishment will be the same.....!!!

PEACE

SHALOM

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