Hindu mother gets custody of children in conversion tussle

08 Apr 2014 / 12:11 H.

SEREMBAN: The High Court today ordered that custody of two children, converted to Islam by their Muslim father, be given to their Hindu mother.
Judge Datuk Zabariah Mohd allowed the custody application by S. Deepa in chambers. Zabariah also allowed Deepa's application to dissolve her civil marriage as the husband Izwan Abdullah had converted to Islam.
The High Court decision overrides a syariah court order early last year that granted custody of the children to Izwan, who became a Muslim in April last year.
Izwan's lawyer Muhammad Faiz Fadzil told a news portal that the judge made it clear that Deepa's application was allowed as the civil court had jurisdiction over the matter and provided relief for custody and dissolution of the couple's marriage.
He said the court has granted the father limited visitation, but not overnight stays.
Faiz said he had instructions to appeal against the decision in the Court of Appeal.
In December last year, Deepa had filed an application to obtain custody of the children who were converted by the husband after he embraced Islam in 2011 and to quash the custody order by the syariah court.
The 30-year-old clerk from Jelebu said her lorry-driver husband N. Viran, 30, left her and her children three years ago and never supported them financially. He is said to have subsequently become a Muslim.
She found out that their children – Sharmila (Nurul Nabila), 9, and Mithran (Nabil), 6, had been converted to Islam without her knowledge by her husband in April last year.
On April 4, she went to a kindergarten to pick up Mithran but he was not there and was told that her husband had taken him away.
"Coincidently, I went to Pusat Dakwah Islamiah Negeri Sembilan in Paroi to collect the confirmation letter of Viran's conversion into Islam to submit to the court for a divorce.
"I was shocked to see Mithran and Sharmila with my husband at Pusat Dakwah Islamiah Negeri Sembilan," she added.
She then found out that he had converted Sharmila and Mithran without her knowledge and permission and the syariah court had given him custody of the children.
Said Deepa: "I am happy that my ex-husband did not resist when he was told to hand over the children following the court ruling."
Deepa, who was assisted by the Women's Aid Organisation in her legal battle, said she has to file another application to obtain a declaration that the conversion of the minors by their father was illegal and unconstitutional.
"It is not going to be easy but I am prepared to face whatever that comes my way," she added.


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