Malaysia, Kualalumpur: A Muslim legal group, Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia (PPMM), offered to help 7,000 Hindus who were reported to have been wrongly registered as Muslims. PPMM president Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said that Islam forbade forced conversions and instead taught its followers to respect the rights of others to practise their own religion without interference.
He was commenting on a report by The Malaysian Insider which quoted a task force, comprising eight Hindu organisations, which said it was hoping to meet Prime Minister Najib Razak and highlight the plight of some 7,000 people, mostly Hindus, who were listed as Muslims in their official documentation. The only way to amend this mistake, said Zainul, was to bring the matter to the Syariah Court as it was the only medium for any Islamic legal matters to be dealt with.
President also said in a statement on Tuesday, “PPMM offers syarie legal services if it’s true that there are non-Muslims who had been forced to convert, or if their conversion to Islam was not done in line with Islamic laws”. He added, “To uphold the religion’s principles, PPMM is ready to pursue each case if it is consulted in order to ensure the freedom of religion, as is enshrined in the Federal Constitution, is upheld”. PPMM suggested that the NGOs present detailed information on each of the 7,000 reported cases but advised that if the conversion was done by their parents while they were under the age of 18, nothing much could be done to rectify the problem.
In The Malaysian Insider report, Malaysia Hindu Sangam president R S Mohan Shan was quoted as saying that the problem was widespread throughout Peninsular Malaysia and involved mostly those from the lower-income group. The 7,000 cases were also a mix of those registered as Muslims by a convert parent generations ago and some who found themselves erroneously registered by the Home Ministry, said Mohan.