Woman born to Muslim-Buddhist couple wants court recognition as non-Muslim

14-Mar-2018 Intellasia | The Malay Mail Online | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A Selangor woman born to a Muslim father but raised as a Buddhist by her Buddhist mother who was never legally married wants the court to declare her as a non-Muslim.

Roslisa Ibrahim, who turns 37 in November, has been on a long journey to seek official recognition that she is a non-Muslim. Her case is finally before the Court of Appeal today.

“She was raised a Buddhist by her mother, she continues to profess Buddhism till this day and wants to continue living her life peacefully as a Buddhist in Malaysia,” Roslisa’s lawyer Aston Paiva said when explaining his client’s case.

According to Roslisa, Selangor’s Muslim laws do not apply to her as she was born an illegitimate child to her Muslim father and late Buddhist mother. Roslisa argued that the English common law and Muslim laws’ position is that the natural father would have no rights over an illegitimate child, while only the natural mother would have rights over the child.

Since Roslisa’s natural mother had guardianship rights over her including deciding her religious upbringing, she is arguing that her religion should follow her mother’s wishes for her to be a Buddhist, and she should be subject to civil laws instead of Shariah laws.

“However, for all official purposes, she is being considered a Muslim and the state government of Selangor does not want to exempt her from the application of Muslim laws because of her illegitimate father’s religion.

“As a result, her constitutional right to religious freedom, choice of partner and disposition of property are all adversely affected. She cannot go to the Shariah court as, by law, she is not even a Muslim in the first place. Thus, there is no question of leaving Islam,” Aston said.

In Malaysia, a different set of personal laws apply to and govern the life of Muslims, ranging from matters such as property inheritance to marriage, divorce and child guardianship. State laws typically dictate that a Muslim will have to marry a Muslim, in order for their marriages to be recognised as a valid marriage.



Category: Malaysia

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