Conversion without consent

Translation by Sharmila Valli Narayanan (The Nut Graph)

STORIES that dominated the Tamil press for the week of 13 to 19 April 2009 continued to be about the conversion of children to Islam without a parent's consent and a mother's fight for these children.

The Tamil press also looked at the neverending cycle of violence in the Indian Malaysian community.

Forced conversion

The drama behind the forced conversion of an 11-month-old breastfeeding baby continues to be played out in the Tamil papers. The situation has taken another dramatic twist. The Tamil papers reported that the father has also converted his two other children, aged 11 and 12. What is shocking is that the conversion was done without the children being present — the father was reported to have converted his children with just their birth certificates.

Sivanesan (Source: epla.perak.

Tamil Nesan was the first to report on the new developments of the case when it ran a story on 15 April titled The conversion of children: Sivanesan urges MIC and other parties to fight for rights. A Sivanesan, the state assemblyperson for Sungkai, urged political parties such as the MIC and DAP to work with religious organisations to fight for the rights of parents whose children are converted to another religion without their permission.

In Perak, there have been two reported cases involving the conversion of children without the knowledge of one parent. M Indra Gandhi's baby was forcefully taken away from her and converted to Islam; while T Tharmakanoo's two children were converted to Islam by his estranged wife.

"The Islamic religious department should not allow the conversion of children without the permission of both parents," Sivanesan said at a press conference at the DAP headquarters in Ipoh. Tamil Nesan noted that officials from the Pakatan Rakyat (PR)'s Islamic affairs section were present at the press conference.

"When such incidents happened before, the government gave assurances that the matter would be looked into. However, because nothing has been done yet, such forced conversions are still happening and causing a lot of hurt and resentment among the people."

Read more at: