KUALA LUMPUR: Zarinah Abdul Majid has found an unlikely supporter in Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria who said the 32-year-old should be allowed to change her religion from Islam to Hinduism on paper.
The religious scholar, who is famous for his hardline views on Islam, said the courts, whether civil or shariah, should allow Zarinah to formally renounce Islam as she was raised as a Hindu.
“If the Shariah court says they have no jurisdiction, she can go to the civil court and make an oath,” Harussani told The Malay Mail Online when contacted.
Zarinah’s case came to light when Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) officials detained her in the midst of her Hindu wedding ceremony at a temple in Taman Sri Aman, Petaling Jaya, last Sunday, on suspicion that she, a Muslim, was marrying a non-Muslim according to non-Muslim rites.
Zarinah has claimed that she and her siblings were secretly converted by her Muslim convert father when they were children, but they have long been practising Hindus since their father divorced their mother and abandoned the family over 20 years ago.
The National Registration Department (NRD) reportedly said recently that if Muslims wished to leave the faith, they first need to seek permission from the Shariah Court before the department can proceed to change the religion in their identity card (IC).
NRD director-general Datuk Sulaiman Keling was also quoted yesterday by English daily The Star as saying that the department has never received an application by Zarinah to change her name or religious status.
But Zarinah has claimed otherwise. According to her, she had applied twice with the department for a change in her religious status but failed when she was told to obtain her father’s signature on the documents.
The Star has also reported Fatimah Abdullah, the stepmother of Zarinah’s father Abdul Majeed Gulam Kader, as saying that Zarinah’s mother used to take Zarinah and her siblings to a Hindu temple when they were young.
According to English daily’s report yesterday, Abdul Majeed said he would never permit his children to renounce Islam, pointing out that his estranged wife was converted to Islam upon their marriage then.