[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
Hindu woman loses Malaysia case
Ruling allows estranged husband to seek divorce in Islamic court and convert child.
Last Modified: 27 Dec 2007 10:16 GMT
Subhasini's lawyer said the court made it clear a newly converted Muslim had recourse to the Islamic courts

A Hindu woman has had her attempt to stop her estranged husband from divorcing her in an Islamic court, and converting their youngest son to Islam, thwarted by Malaysia's highest court.
 
Subhasini Rajasingham's husband had already converted himself and their elder son, now four, to the religion in 2006.
Subhasini also wants a divorce but says it should be decided in a civil court.
 
The federal court rejected her request on a technicality, leaving the option of another attempt.
 
But it failed to clarify the status of Malaysia's minorities in marital disputes where the spouse is a Muslim.
The court said that as a principle, marital disputes involving a converted Muslim spouse and a non-Muslim partner should only be decided in a civil court and not in the sharia court.
 
But at the same time, the court said Subhasini's husband has the right to approach the shariah court to seek redress.

Civil-rights groups have voiced fears that minority rights have become subordinate to Islamic jurisprudence because of a series of rulings that have gone in favour of Muslim spouses.
 
Nik Hashim Nik Abdul Rahman, one of the two judges who dismissed the case, said: "The civil and sharia courts cannot interfere with each other's jurisdiction."
 
There was one dissenter.
 
Controversal family law
 
Family law is a controversal area in Malayia's courts. Non-Muslims complain that civil courts give up their responsbilty to their Islamic counterparts too easily in cases involving a Muslim conversion.
 
In Malaysia marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims are forbidden.
 
Therefore, once a spouse converts to Islam, the union is broken in the eyes of Islamic courts.
 
K Shanmuga, Subashini's lawyer, said the judges' comments made it clear they recognised the husband's right, as a newly converted Muslim, to have recourse to the Islamic courts.
 
In summing up the ruling's significance Shanmuga said: "The high court has jurisdiction to hear matters when this is a non-Muslim marriage but the husband also has a right to sharia court under Islamic law."
 
In the civil court Shanmuga cited a landmark ruling by the federal court in July which stated that if one party was a non-Muslim, the sharia court had no jurisdiction.
 
This was a rare ruling that went against a tide of decisions granting jurisdiction to the Islamic courts.
Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.