GEORGE TOWN: A Catholic woman from Sabah has gone to court to challenge the legality of her conversion to Islam when she was a minor.
The 21-year old said she converted to Islam three years ago in order to marry her boyfriend but he broke off the relationship some months later.
The waitress from Keningau claimed she was converted at the Islamic Propagation Society International’s (IPSI) office along Argyll Road here on June 11, 2020, when she was 17, according to a judicial review filing at the High Court here.
“The applicant agreed to be registered as a mualaf (convert) only after being told that without such a registration (conversion), they could not be married legally. There was no other reason behind her consent.
“However, when she was registered as a convert, she was 17 and a minor. The registration was done without the permission of both her parents,” her filing read.
She claimed that after she split with her boyfriend, she had tried to annul her conversion certificate, but was told by syarie lawyers that it was impossible as under the Penang state Islamic laws she was deemed a Muslim for life.
She said after getting legal advice from another lawyer, she found that her conversion as a minor was unconstitutional because the consent of both her parents had not been obtained when she converted.
Under Penang’s Islamic laws, she said, the parent’s consent was a requirement for the conversion of a minor.
Her parents, who are farmers in Keningau, have filed an affidavit affirming that she was a practising Catholic and was baptised at the St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Keningau on Aug 28, 2005.
They also confirmed that they did not consent to their daughter’s conversion.
The woman wants the court to declare that her conversion certificate dated June 11, 2020 is invalid, and to make a certiorari order to revoke her “Kad Akuan Masuk Islam” issued by the Penang Islamic religious council or MAINPP.
She is also seeking a mandamus order for her name to be removed from the converts’ register and a further declaration that she is a Roman Catholic.
A case review will be held on Oct 13.
Her lawyer, Shamsher Singh Thind, who filed the application, said the conversion was illegal under Penang’s Islamic laws and the Federal Constitution, as she was converted as a minor without her parents’ consent.