Some pertinent questions about the latest child conversion case. This post is reproduced from Art Harun‘s facebook post.
Last week, the cyber world was set aflame with news about two kids, aged 5 and 8, being converted to Islam by their father, a 30 year old man, formerly a Hindu. Those children were born and raised in a Hindu family.
(See the Star report: One parent enough to convert kids, says Islamic Affairs Department)
The Islamic Affairs Department says it is okay for ONE parent to convert his child/children to Islam regardless of their age.
This of course flies in the face of what Minister Nazri Aziz announced in April 2009 that children of an estranged couple should be raised in the religion of the parents at the time when they were still married.
Furthermore, it also flies in the face of what the director-general of the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim) Datuk Dr Syed Ali Tawfik Al-Attas said in his keynote address titled Crisis in Religious Thinking at a discourse held at the Perak Institute of Islamic Administration on 11th June 2009:
“A child who has not reached ‘umur baligh’ (age of maturity) cannot be burdened with the responsibility of accepting something he does not understand as his faculties of reason are still immature.
“Therefore, it is unreasonable to say that one can simply convert a child”
He was further quoted as saying that a person who converted a child to Islam was actually forcing the child to accept the burden of responsibility when Allah did not command such a burden be placed on the child who had not reached the age of maturity.
Syed Ali said conversion of a child to Islam also did not guarantee that he would remain a Muslim as the decision to accept and practise the religion depended on him alone.
“The responsibility of a Muslim father is to educate his children on the religion and when they reach the age of maturity, they can make their choice.”
It was also reported that the Cabinet had decided in April 2009 that the children of a couple where one spouse had converted to Islam be raised in the religion the couple professed at the time of their marriage.
So, what the hell is going on?
i) Can a child be converted by the parent to Islam?
ii) Can a child be born a Muslim?
iii) Can a child, upon reaching the age of maturity, choose his or her religion although he or she has been raised as a Muslim from day one?
i) The Nut Graph: “Non Muslim Child Cannot Be Arbitrarily Converted To Islam”
ii) The Nut Graph: “Cabinet Bars Forced Conversion Of Children“
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