No ‘divorce before convert’ plan for Selangor yet, says MB Azmin


(Malay Mail Online) – Selangor does not have any plans as yet to follow Negri Sembilan’s proposal to amend state laws governing Islam on the conversion of children to Islam, Mentri Besar Azmin Ali said today.

Azmin pointed out that such amendments would first require careful deliberation among state leaders and Islamic experts.

“You need the authority to discuss and deliberate on this matter,” Azmin told reporters after an event here today.

“It is not easy.”

On Tuesday, Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamad Hasan said his administration intends to amend state laws governing Islam to make it compulsory for non-Muslims seeking to convert to Islam to first settle their family matters, including divorcing their spouses who refuse to follow the conversion.

He was quoted by English daily New Straits Times as saying that it becomes the responsibility of the prospective convert to divorce the spouse, claiming that Islam forbids a Muslim from living with a non-Muslim spouse.

The proposal has since received support from legal experts and opposition lawmakers, though some lawyers warned that forcing a divorce could be in conflict with Article 11 of the Federal Constitution that safeguards freedom of religion.

Last year saw two child custody tussles involving non-Muslims, including one in Negri Sembilan, which were brought to the Shariah courts instead after the fathers embraced Islam and unilaterally converted the children without the mothers’ knowledge.