Little Luke "Skywalker"

Friday, December 08, 2006

Legal Implications of Conversion

In relation with some negative news report that have been highlighted in the media lately, I received a "FYI email" from a trustworthy source - A document issued by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Malaysia to local Christians, titled "The Legal Implications of Conversion to Islam".

The content of the document is to highlight the important changes in your legal status when you convert to Islam. Note that the legal implications are only applicable in Malaysia (and probably only less than a handful of countries out there).

I reproduce the key points raised in the document for everyone's knowledge because I think every citizen living in Malaysia has a right to know.

If you convert to Islam, there are important changes in your legal status and what you can or cannot do. Your conversion to Islam will be registered with the Religious Department and the National Registration Department, both of which are computerised so access to this information is available throughout the country.

Under Syariah enactments of most of the 13 States of Malaysia:

  • Conversion back to your former religion is either
    - not allowed under the law, or
    - a criminal offence which means that you may be fined, whipped, detained or imprisoned under most State Islamic laws.
  • If you are under 18 years of age, you require your parents' permission to convert to Islam. Your identity card will record your conversion to Islam. Therefore, even if you are no longer practising Islam, you may be fined, whipped, detained or imprisoned for violation of Syariah laws such as praying in Church, eating in public during fasting month, "khalwat" etc.
  • You cannot marry a non-Muslim. If you decide to divorce and attempt to convert out of Islam, you will lose custody of your children because they are Muslims.
    Upon death, your non-Muslim relatives will lose their rights to any property, money etc. that you want to leave to them. The corpse of a convert to Islam will be taken away from his or her non-Muslim family for Islamic rites and burial even if you have not been a practising Muslim for many years.
  • In the event that your spouse converts to Islam, you may have no right to either your children or your spouse's property.

p/s: Please bear in mind that this is not in any way to discourage anyone from converting to the beautiful religion of Islam (as explained in the original document which was published on 14th August 2005 in the local Catholic News).

Jotted down by Egghead :: at around 12/08/2006 08:23:00 AM :: and invited 10 Blah(s):

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