The NGO views the amendment on unilateral conversions as a deliberate attempt to defy the federal constitution and is oppressive to non-Muslim rights.
KUALA LUMPUR: Hindraf has urged non-Muslims in Perlis to join forces to get a declaration from the court that an Islamic amendment in the state was ultra vires the federal constitution.
“We offer our services pro bono. We are ready to undertake this task on behalf of the people.
“We will help protect the rights of the 15 million non-Muslims in the country,” Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy said in a statement today.
He cited the amendment in Perlis as the clearest proof that Islamic laws affect non-Muslims as well.
“The claim that Islamic laws are meant only for Muslims is a deceptive argument,” Waytha said, adding that the amendment to Section 117(b) of the Administration of the Religion of Islam Enactment 2006 by the Perlis government yesterday was the clearest proof.
The amendment allows a “father or mother” in a non-Muslim marriage that had taken place under civil law, to unilaterally convert their children who are under 18 years of age to Islam “without the consent of the other parent”.
Waytha said the amendment was tantamount to changing the constitution.
Questioning the need for such an amendment, especially with Putrajaya having tabled a bill last month to ensure that both parents’ consent is needed for a child’s conversion to Islam, Waytha asked if this amendment could be considered a form of oppression, bullying and indignity imposed on the non-Muslim party in a marriage?
“What happened to common sense, justice and fair play? Are Muslim leaders going to remain silent on this amendment?
“Would the ordinary Malay on the street remain silent in the face of this gross injustice to their non-Muslim brethren?” he asked.
He added that he would not be surprised if the same amendment was quickly adopted in other states, under the guise of being an amendment to Islamic laws.
“Non-Muslims would be told not to be concerned. This attempt is nothing but a back door to altering the legal landscape of Malaysia,” Waytha said.
Calling it part of a larger Muslim agenda, Waytha laid blame on Umno for the amendment.
“It clearly shows they would resort to anything in order to remain in power.
“They are acting on their own accord to implement religious supremacist laws that infringe the basic tenets of the constitution,” Waytha said.