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7th Rangers: Mass conversion claim: 137 Orang Asli appeal to nullify Islamic status By Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid

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Mass conversion claim: 137 Orang Asli appeal to nullify Islamic status By Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid
Thursday, November 16, 2023

Malaysiakini : A group of Orang Asli have turned to the Court of Appeal to quash their Islamic status which they claimed was imposed on them through an unlawful mass conversion 30 years ago.

The 137 plaintiffs from the Bateq Mayah ethnic group are appealing against the Kuantan High Court ruling on Oct 3 which allowed applications by the Pahang Islamic Religious and Malay Customs Council (Muip) and four others to strike out the lawsuit. When contacted by Malaysiakini, the Orang Asliā€™s former counsel Fahri Azzat confirmed the notice of appeal was filed on Oct 12.

The lawyer added that after helping the group file the appeal, his law firm Fahri Azzat & Co has withdrawn from the matter.   ā€œThe Kuala Lumpur-based law firm Seira & Sharizad is now acting for my former clients at the appellate court level,ā€ Fahri said.

Lawyer Fahri Azzat

Besides Muip, the four others who applied to strike out the Orang Asliā€™s action were the federal government, the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa), its director and officer. They are five out of the six defendants targeted by the suit. The other defendant is the Pahang state government which also backed the striking-out bid.

The lawsuit alleged that the wrongful and illegal conversion was carried out at the Orang Asliā€™s home at Kampung Benchah Kelubi, Merapoh, Kuala Lipis, Pahang, in April 1993. The court documents claimed that 57 of the plaintiffs were converted during the incident and that the remainder of the plaintiffs were children born later and also have the word Islam on their identity cards due to their descendants.

Threat allegations

The plaintiffs claimed that in early 1993, two village leaders were asked by a Jakoa representative to not only convert to Islam but also get the other villagers to do so. They alleged that when the villagers refused to do so, an officer from the department visited the village and issued several threats to ensure their conversion.

The threats included villagers would not be allowed to live in the village anymore, their houses and crops would be destroyed, and they would be chased down and tortured if they ran to the mountains.

The plaintiffs claimed that the villagers were not informed of the legal implications of embracing Islam, namely that they would be subject to Pahangā€™s Islamic legal framework and that children born to them would automatically be Muslims too.

They claimed that they did not profess or practise Islam following the alleged mass conversion and continued to embrace the cultural and religious beliefs of the Bateq Mayah. After 2000 when more of the villagers learnt how to speak basic Bahasa Malaysia, they then realised that the word ā€œIslamā€ was stated on their identity cards, they added.

Previously filed at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Sept 28 last year, the matter was later transferred to the Kuantan High Court on May 30 this year, whereby the Kuantan court nullified the suit on Oct 3.

Beman : What's the point of converting people to your religion when they do not believe in it? They are only followers in name, not in heart. Maybe the converters are insecure in their own religion, so much so they need to have number in order to feel secure. What does the enlightened Madani PM have to say about this?

darmakochi : Looks like he had taken a vow of silence on local news since he seems to be completely focussed on international issues like Palestine and HAMAS.

Proof of pudding always in the eating : In spite of all this there is still no compulsion in Islam.

BrownSinga7958 : Maybe CNN should ask Anwar about this and see how he answers in front of US audience.

A153 : Using force, threats, and lies to spread their religion. But when their kind willingly embrace another religion, they become furious.

JBond : This force conversion have been on for a long time and in many places. Thatā€™s why religious authorities in this country are allocated huge budgets. Part of it are conversion in remote and ignorant communities where they can bully and coerce them into submission. Itā€™s open secret.

Read the rest of the comments here......
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 4:33 PM  
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