Crime & Courts

Court annuls woman's conversion to Islam when she was a minor

GEORGE TOWN: The High Court here today allowed a Sabahan woman's application to quash her conversion to Islam by the Islamic Propagation Society International (IPSI) because she was still a minor (below 18 years) at the time of the conversion.

Judge Quay Chew Soon, in allowing the application, said the conversion of Herlin Jamlin four years ago was done without both her parents' consent.

Herlin, now 22, had converted to Islam in 2020 to marry her Muslim boyfriend but their relationship ended a few months later.

Quay cited the Federal Court's decision in the case of Indira Gandhi and Section 117 of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Penang) Enactment 2004, which required the consent of both parents to convert a minor.

"Since she was still a minor then, the lack of parental consent rendered her conversion invalid from the outset.

"That is crucial and as such I am granting the declarations sought," he said.

Quay also issued a certiorari order to cancel Herlin's Islamic conversion certificate and other related documents.

He further directed the removal of her details from the state's Muslim converts' registry through a mandamus order, and declared that she remain a follower of the Catholic faith.

No order was made as to costs.

Herlin had named the Penang Islamic Religious Council (MAINPP) and the Penang state converts' registrar as respondents in the judicial review.

Counsels Dr Shamsher Singh Thind and J. Gunamalar appeared for the woman, while MAINPP was represented by Abd Daud Abd Rahim and Dayang Roziekah Ussin.

Senior federal counsels Naizatul Zima Tajudin and Charanjit Mahinder Singh appeared for the state converts' registrar.

In his submission, Shamsher said his client was converted to Islam when she was still a minor and without both her parents' consent.

He said the law required a minimum age before a child was allowed to change religion so as to protect him or her from being manipulated by the irresponsible adults and agencies.

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