Don’t let civil courts touch Shariah rulings, syarie lawyers urge CJ


The Chief Justice should direct civil courts not to entertain conversion and custody cases previously decided under the shariah system, said the Malaysian Syarie Lawyers Association.

It said this would prevent the apparent jurisdictional conflicts on such matters.

The group’s president, Musa Awang, suggested Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria issue the circular in accordance with the decision by the National Fatwa Council in 2009, which decided that minors are automatically Muslims and must be raised as such when a parent converts into Islam,.

“Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution also stated that the religion of an individual below the age of 18 is decided by a parent, and that does not need to be amended,” said Musa in statement to Sinar Harian.

Musa was responding to the Seremban High Court’s decision in granting S. Deepa, a Hindu, the full custody of her two children, who were converted by their father N. Viran who now goes by Izwan Abdullah.

Izwan, had snatched their six-year-old son two days after the custody was awarded insisting that he too had full rights to the children based on previous Shariah Court order.

Authorities declined to pursue the Muslim convert father, citing the conflicting orders.

Musa insisted that the orders issued by both courts have equal standing.

Civil lawyers pointed out, however, that it was unconstitutional for the Shariah court to decide matters concerning non-Muslims.