Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria said that amending the state constitution to include the establishment of Syariah Court would elevate its status and place it on par with the civil courts. (pix by ABDULLAH YUSOF)

IPOH: The Syariah Court should be placed under the respective state's constitution, said Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria.

He said that amending the state constitution to include the establishment of Syariah Court would elevate its status and place it on par with the civil courts.

"The provisions of the Shariah Court should be extended to allow non-Muslims to attend hearings and the court should not be limited to Muslims.

"The Syariah court should not be regarded as an entity outside the judicial institution, which places it in a lower position,” he said in a statement today.

He cited the Federal Court's landmark decision which allowed an appeal by kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi to nullify the unilateral conversion to Islam of her three children by her ex-husband, Muhammad Riduan Abdullah.

"Personally, I am disappointed and do not agree with the decision. From the view of Islam, when parents or one of them embraces the religion, their children are also considered Muslims. Islamic scholars based this view on hadith by prophet Muhammad," he said.

Harussani said he was baffled by the unanimous decision by the five-man panel.

"There was a similar case in 2007 whereby the court decided that one of the parents can decide on the children's religion without the consent of the other. The court's decision in the latest case can be described as being disrespectful of the Federal Constitution which clearly states Islam as the religion of the federation," he added.

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