​Conversion in Malaysia: Issues and Reform Proposals

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Conversion in Malaysia: Issues and Reform Proposals

IAIS Malaysia Policy Issue Papers No. 1 (December 2012)

Authors: Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Osman Bakar, Zarina Nalla and Hafiz Hassan

Publisher: International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia

Page: 24 pages

This paper is the outcome of several consultations with prominent Malaysian personalities, judges and NGOs held over a period of one year or so, to address conversion-related issues of concern, especially related to the status of children. It all started with the Cabinet order of April 2009 on the subject, and the public debate over the consequences of that order. Numerous public forums followed in the ensuing months where civil society groups, government agencies, the Bar Council and religious communities deliberated over issues. This paper provides an overview of those debates. The paper before us is presented in three segments, one of which looks into religious conversion in Islamic thought and shariah-based responses to conversion of children, followed by a review of the Cabinet decision, and then responses and conclusions that reflect IAIS Malaysia’s views and policy-relevant recommendations. The three appendices at the end provide additional coverage of public responses to the Cabinet decision, and a summary also of statutory law and court cases, respectively.