Can Islam be used to subjugate the rights of non-Muslims?


If both the police and the Home Ministry refused to budge, what are the other options that we have?

Khoo Kay Peng, The Ant Daily

In the case of S Deepa versus Izwan Abdullah over the custody of their two children Sharmila, 9, and Mithran, 6, who were converted to Islam without her knowledge in April last year, it is clear that the authorities have acted in bad faith for the failure to act against Izwan for kidnapping his son from his ex-wife after she was granted legal custody of their children.

It is understandable why the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has come under fire for his reluctance to enforce the civil court’s decision and arrest Izwan for his offence.

Khalid’s refusal to act cannot be taken lightly. His decision is going to have a deep repercussion on the police force. It is putting the force, the enforcers of law and order, into a constitutional jeopardy. Since independence, it is clear that the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land and the civil courts act as an important balance of power in a parliamentary democracy.

Khalid’s decision begs the question: is he making his decision based on his faith or his interpretation of the Federal Constitution? Who can decide if Khalid is making a right decision or not? What are the legal and constitutional implications if Khalid’s decision is allowed to stand?

It is equally baffling that the Home Ministry has decided not to interfere with the IGP’s decision. Its minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi supported the decision of the police not to act against the abductor. Is Zahid’s decision supported and endorsed by the cabinet?

It is a challenge to cabinet members such as Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and other like-minded colleagues to intervene and resolve the issue amicably. It is the duty of the government to protect and defend the sanctity of the Federal Constitution and its institutions.

If the cabinet fails to act, it is going to face a massive credibility deficit. With Nazri’s criticism of the police, it shows that Zahid has failed to obtain a consensus from the cabinet. In turn, the cabinet cannot accommodate a rogue member. This is a time we hope for some form of leadership from the prime minister.

If both the police and the Home Ministry refused to budge, what are the other options that we have? The civil court cannot sit still and do nothing since its authority has been challenged. This is a grey area of law that must be put to rest conclusively. The court can issue a directive to the police to act within its power to bring the abductor into custody for his refusal to accept the court’s verdict on the custody and for committing a serious offence.

With due respect to Islam, Izwan cannot hide behind the religion and manipulate it for his own benefit. He is clearly facing a marital issue with his ex-wife and the custody trial is a judicial venue to put a closure to his marital problem.

There is a danger of dragging the religion into his custody battle and marital problem. It is now creating a larger and more serious legal implication to all Malaysians. Can Islam be used to subjugate the rights of the non-Muslims and the sanctity of the civil institutions like the judiciary? The de facto decisions made by both the IGP and the home minister to ignore the offence seemed to suggest that this is the case.

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