Press statement by Wanita MCA Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun lauding IKIM’s position on child conversion
Wanita MCA National Chairman Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun lauded Datuk Dr. Syed Ali Tawfik Al-Attas, Director-General of the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM), for his enlightened views on the conversion issue. He has stated that any person, including minors, should not be forced to convert to Islam, as it should be a willing submission. He also wishes to see the true form of Islam understood and practised by all sides, instead of it being used to serve personal interests.
Mei Fun agrees with the statements made by Dr. Syed Ali, who on Thursday 11 June made a keynote address titled “Crisis in Religious Thinking” at a seminar held at the Perak Institute of Islamic Administration. During his address, Dr. Syed Ali noted that the ability to think and reason is an important part of the process by which non-Muslims, including minors, convert to Islam.
“Past rulings made by the Cabinet are consistent with the views of Dr. Syed Ali. Children should not be burdened with the responsibility of accepting something that they do not understand. In other words, adults must not unilaterally decide for minors whether or not they convert to Islam,” the Wanita MCA chairman emphasized.
On 2009 April 22, the Cabinet decided that minor children of a couple where one spouse had converted to Islam be raised in accordance with the common religion at the time of their marriage. This ruling revealed the reform and progressive trend on religious issues in Malaysia, as it gained much public support. However, it also faced much opposition from PAS as well as fundamentalist religious elements.
“PAS and other fundamentalist parties should stop their opposition to the Cabinet ruling on child conversion. Instead, they should follow the views of Dr. Syed Ali as part of a general progressive trend of Islamic thought,” Mei Fun stated.
Finally, Chew Mei Fun professes her wish for all parties in Malaysia to work together and cooperate for the greater good and national unity as the main priority, while at the same time maintaining religious harmony, instead of using of religion for personal agendas.
Published: Saturday June 13, 2009 MYT 6:55:00 PM
Ikim’s stand on child conversion wins approval
PETALING JAYA: Wanita MCA has applauded the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia ’s (Ikim) stance that child conversion should not be done.
Its chief Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said children should not be burdened with the responsibility of accepting something which they did not understand.
“Adults must not unilaterally decide for minors whether or not they convert to Islam,” she said in a statement yesterday.
While delivering his keynote address titled Crisis in Religious Thinking, Ikim director-general Datuk Dr Syed Ali Tawfik Al-Attas had said that no one, including minors, should be forced to convert to Islam.
The decision to embrace Islam was a willing submission of which the ability to think and reason played an essential role, he said.
Chew urged PAS and other fundamentalist parties to stop opposing the Cabinet ruling on the religion of children and follow Dr Syed Ali’s views instead as part of a general progressive trend of Islamic thought.
The Cabinet had decided in April that the children of a couple where one spouse converted to Islam later would be raised in accordance with the common religion at the time of the marriage.