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Author Topic: Malaysia Allows Muslim Return to Buddhism  (Read 455 times)
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« on: Mar 17, 2009 01:29 AM »

Malaysia Allows Muslim Return to Buddhism

By & News Agencies
The court said that Tan has never intended to become a Muslim. (Reuters)

The court said that Tan has never intended to become a Muslim. (Reuters)
KUALA LUMPUR — A Malaysian Islamic court upheld on Monday, March 16, a decision allowing a female convert to return to her original faith, Hinduism, on the basis that she has never been a Muslim.

"She has never followed any aspect of the Islamic teachings and has been living a non-Muslim lifestyle right from the day of her conversion," Penang state Shari`ah Appeal Court Judge Ibrahim Lembut said in a ruling cited by Reuters.

"It is clear from the evidence that she converted to Islam just for the sake of marrying an Iranian man," Ibrahim said.

Siti Fatimah Tan Abdullah, a 39-year-old ethnic Chinese woman formerly known as Tan Ean Huang, converted to Islam in 1998 in order to marry her Muslim Iranian lover.

Non-Muslims must convert before they can legally marry a Muslim in Malaysia, where Muslim Malays form about 60 percent of the 27-million population.

The couple married in 2004, but after a short period she broke up with her husband.

In 2006, she filed a request to return to her original faith, Buddhism, stressing she has never practiced Islam.

In May 2008, a Shari`ah court ruled in her favor but the Penang Islamic Religious Council (MAIPP) appealed.

But the Shari`ah Appeal Court upheld the original verdict.

"She never intended to become a Muslim in the first place," said Judge Ibrahim.

The court ordered the MAIPP to revoke Tan's registration certificate that declared her as a Muslim.

Christians make up around 9.1 percent of the population, including a Catholic population of nearly 800,000.

Buddhists and Hindus constitute 19.2 and 6.3 percent of the population respectively.


The plaintiff expressed her satisfaction with the court ruling.

"I am very happy that this is finally over," she told reporters outside the court house.

"It has been a long struggle."

The MAIPP also endorsed the ruling, which it said confirmed the status quo in Malaysia, where religious courts operate in parallel to civil courts.

But it stressed that this ruling does not mean any change in the country's ban of Muslim conversion.

"The original decision gave the impression that one could simply convert out of Islam. So now it is clear this is not the case," MAIPP lawyer Ahmad Munawar Abdul Aziz told reporters.

"In this case, the court has made it clear that this was a unique case where her
conversion itself was invalid," he explained.

"So this removes the fear among the Muslim community that conversions may be subject to review."
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« Reply #1 on: Mar 17, 2009 04:14 AM »


interesting... but sounds like a double edged sword because if she was never Muslim then her marriage is invalidated.

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