PAS PRESIDENT Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang has expressed his dismay that the Federal Constitution is not interpreted according to Islamic context to the point that the religion “cannot override man-made laws”.
Hadi said this in the wake of the controversy involving the unilateral conversion of single mother Loh Siew Hong’s three children without her permission.
The conversion by the Perlis religious department is seen to contradict the 2018 Federal Court ruling on unilateral conversions which deemed such actions to be illegal and that consent from both parents were required when converting a child to Islam.
“It has become clear that Islam which comes under the purview of the Malay rulers through the various religious councils cannot override man-made laws to the point that Islamic laws can even be nullified by courts and judges,” he was reported as saying by PAS mouthpiece Harakah Daily.
He added that the constitution was interpreted in a way that referred to Islam simply as “a religion” rather than “al-Din” or a “way of life” according to the al-Quran.
Hadi however did not make any direct reference to Loh’s case in which she is seeking to nullify the conversions of her 14-year-old twin daughters and 10-year-old son using the Federal Court’s ruling on the 2018 Indira Gandhi case as a precedent.
Previously Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin had defended the conversion of the children, pointing out that the conversion was in line with the state’s Shariah law that required permission of either the mother or father and not both.
According to Hadi, despite the constitution declaring Islam as the religion of the Federation, it was still being interpreted in English even in matters relating to Muslim interests.
“Although the original text of the constitution is in English, when we achieved independence it should be left up to us to interpret it in our language based on our religious understanding,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, Hadi further stressed that “Islam must be glorified above all other religions, ideologies and teachings” and that “In life and in all matters of life, only Islam is fair to all”.
He went on to praise former judges including Salleh Abbas, Ahmad Fairuz and Hashim Yeop who “understood” what was implied in the Constitution and interpreted it with “an independent mind” that was “not constrained by colonisers”.
“Those who are ignorant or have overlooked the matter should realise how dangerous the world and the hereafter are when they overstep the boundaries of God’s powers,” he concluded. – Feb 25, 2022