Thursday, August 5, 2010

I was born an Indian, a Hindu and I remain so until I die

Malaysian woman fails to nullify conversion to Islam when 7, vows to fight for Hindu rights
04/08/2010 14:17:22 KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia —
A Malaysian woman lost a court battle Wednesday to nullify her conversion to Islam when she was a child, but vowed to fight on to be recognized as a Hindu.The interfaith dispute could further anger non-Muslims who have long complained that their religious rights are being sidelined in Muslim-majority Malaysia, and may erode minority support for the government.Malaysia's secular High Court ruled it had no jurisdiction to hear the case as Banggarma Subramaniam is a Muslim and should refer to the Islamic Shariah court, said her lawyer Gooi Hsiao Leung.Banggarma has said she and her three siblings were under the care of a government orphanage in northern Penang state when she was converted to Islam by welfare officials in 1989 when she was seven years old.She ran away when she was 16 and got married two years later in 2001 in a traditional Hindu ceremony. When she returned to the home to collect her identity card and other documents, she was given the Muslim conversion certificate which listed her name as Siti Hasnah Vanga-rama Abdullah.She has been unable to register her marriage or name her husband as the father of their two children in their birth certificates as she is listed a Muslim. Banggarma's husband must convert to Islam to legally wed her as marriage between Muslims and non-Muslims is not allowed in the country.Banggarma said she was disappointed with the court ruling and planned to take the case to the Appeals Court."Why must I be forced to accept Islam?" Banggarma said. "I was born an Indian, a Hindu and I remain so until I die. They have no rights over me."
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