Posted by: becketfund | March 5, 2009

Malaysia: Court Dispute Over Conversion of Baby

KUALA LUMPUR – Hoo Ying Soon, an ethnic Chinese man, is challenging the conversion of his baby daughter to Islam by his estranged wife, a lawyer said on March 5, the latest inter-religious dispute to hit the majority Muslim country of Malaysia, the AP reported on March 5. Hoo Ying Soon, a 28-year-old carpenter, was shocked when he received a notice two days ago from the Islamic Shariah court granting temporary custody of their 15-month-old daughter to his wife, his lawyer Tang Jay Son said. He was told that his wife, Chew Yin Yin, 23, embraced Islam on Jan. 28 while his daughter was converted on Feb. 3. The couple, who both practiced Buddhism, married in February 2007 in southern Negeri Sembilan state but their marriage broke down in September. Tang informed the Associated Press that “Hoo will challenge the conversion of his daughter in the High Court because it was done unilaterally by the mother without the consent of the father. They are not divorced yet.” It is unclear if the civil court’s ruling will be binding on the Islamic court, as similar cases in the past failed to clearly determine which court has the jurisdiction in inter-religious disputes. In a high profile case in 2007, an ethnic Hindu woman failed to persuade the civil court to ban her husband, who had embraced Islam, from converting their sons.

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