Loh files to nullify children’s unilateral Islamic conversion

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Having recently reunited with her three children, single mother Loh Siew Hong has now gone to court to quash their unilateral conversion to Islam by her Muslim convert former husband.

Sayuti Zainudin

Loh this afternoon filed a judicial review leave application at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

When contacted, her counsel Shamsher Singh Thind confirmed the court filing, which named the Perlis Registrar of Muallafs (new converts to Islam), the Religious and Malay Customs Council of Perlis (Maips), state mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, and the state government as respondents.

The lawyer explained that the judicial review was necessitated by Maips having recently filed to intervene in the divorce proceedings between Loh and ex-husband Muhammad Nagahswaran Muniandy.

It was reported that Maips sought to be made a party in the civil court divorce proceedings so that they can apply for a court order to enable the council to safeguard the Islamic education of Loh’s three children.

“Madam Loh was forced to file this application as Maips has applied to intervene in the concluded family proceeding to amend the custody order (granted to Loh by the civil court in relation to the three children).

“She was forced to file this application because Maips – in filing the (intervener) application – is acting upon the supposition that the children are Muslims,” Shamsher told Malaysiakini.

Through the judicial review leave application, she seeks an order of certiorari to overturn the Perlis Muallaf Registrar’s registration of her children’s conversion dated July 7, 2020.

Loh is seeking several declarations, among them that Nagahswaran was not legally fit to convert their children to Islam.

Another declaration sought is that a Perlis state enactment – which permits a single parent to convert a minor child to Islam without the permission of the other parent – is constitutionally invalid.

She seeks a declaration that her twin daughters, 13, and son, 10, are Hindus.

On Feb 21, the Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Collin Lawrence granted Loh’s habeas corpus application to be reunited with her three children.

The habeas corpus application had targeted the Social Welfare Department and an Islamic teacher who took care of the children at one point.

Nagahswaran, who is in jail on drug-related charges, had unilaterally converted the children to Islam without Loh’s knowledge and consent.

The single mother obtained full custody of the children in December last year.

It was also previously reported that Loh was seeking to file a separate legal bid to nullify the unilateral conversion of her three children. – Malaysiakini