Keep religion out of custody battles

child

Imagine this.

A Hindu man falls in love with a Hindu woman. They decide to celebrate their love in matrimony. A few years later, they are granted three beautiful children. Like them, the children are raised with love as Hindus. One day, the man decides to abandon his faith in Hinduism and embrace Christianity. He ends his marriage, converts his children to Christianity and fights for custody.

Ask yourself.

Who do you think will legally be given the custodial rights?

Would the conversion of the children be allowed?

Think.

Rightfully, marriage is a contract. And children are products of that contract. Even if one party decides to break the contract, the religion of the children should remain the same as that of the parties when the contract was sealed unless both parties now come to a new agreement.

Now replace Christianity with Islam.

  • Will fairness, justice and common sense take a backseat once Islam comes into the picture?
  • How does child custody become an Islamic Court’s jurisdiction when the couple were married as Hindus under civil law and the children were born as a product of that Hindu marriage?

Analyse.

  • S Shamala vs Dr Jeyaganesh C Mogarajah (Muhammad Ridzwan Mogarajah) – two kids
  • R Subashini vs T Saravanan (Muhammad Shafi Abdullah) – two kids
  • S Deepa vs N Viran (Izwan Abdullah) – two kids
  • M Indira vs K Patmanathan (Muhammad Riduan Abdullah) – three kids

There will be many more such cases in the future.

Ponder.

Custody cases where both parties are Muslims when a marriage contract is sealed, clearly falls within the jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts and the Civil Courts do not have the right to interfere. Likewise, when a marriage contract is sealed between two non-Muslims, it should by right fall within the jurisdiction of the Civil Courts, and the Syariah Courts should not be given any right to interfere. It’s that simple.

The truth.

The Federal Constitution is our supreme law. It is built on the basis of justice, fairness and equality. Giving rights to one parent to convert a child without the consent of the other is clearly in violation of the Federal Constitution. The child custody battle should not be about religion. It should be solely about the welfare of the child and the fundamental rights of both parents.

Let’s get this straight.

• Our justice system should stop giving preference to religion and base their considerations on the aspects of welfare and rights of the child.

• How fair is it to decide on the future of a child by inviting more conflict between both parents?

• What is the point of granting custody to a Muslim-convert parent if the non-Muslim parent is more qualified or just as qualified to provide for the child?

• Whatever happened to the integrity of our justice system?

Make a stand.

Islam MUST NOT be made an escape clause for people to win custody of a child in Malaysia.

The interests of a child should prevail over any aspect of a religion.

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Published by: fa abdul

Fa is a passionate storyteller, a struggling producer, an aspiring playwright, an expert facebooker, a lazy blogger, a self-acclaimed photographer, a regular columnist, a part-time queen and a full time vain pot.

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