George town, Mar 17 (ANI): A Malaysian Islamic Court has upheld an earlier order made by the High Court here to allow a Muslim convert, Siti Fatimah Abdullah, to revert to Buddhism.
A three-member panel who presided over the case found that the respondent did not practise Islam from the start of her conversion, which began after she took an oath of allegiance and recited holy words in Arabic.
After hearing arguments from the plaintiff, which is the state Islamic Religious Council, and the respondent's lawyer Ahmad Jailani Abdul Ghani, Justice Ibrahim Lembut said it was proven beyond reasonable doubt that Fatimah whose birth name is Ean Huang did not practice Islam and had not embraced the religion sincerely.
"Islam was sacred so its followers must adopt its teachings faithfully. We cannot impose its teachings on non-believers nor force people to embrace Islam," he added.
The judges took into account two main aspects before making a decision on the appeal by the ouncil to set aside the state Syariah High Court's decision.
Fatimah who is a hawker, testified that she converted to Islam in July 1998 for the sake of marrying an Iranian named Ferdoun Ashanian. He left her a few months into the marriage.
Consequently, Fatimah maintained her Buddhist leanings.
Malaysia has a dual court system with civil courts for non-Muslims and Shariah courts for Muslims. In interfaith disputes involving Islam, the Shariah courts typically get the last word, which has upset non-Muslims who fear they cannot get justice in such courts, The Star reports. (ANI)