Islamic authorities cannot overstep boundaries: Interfaith Council
Jagir said that the police was a federal force and not a state or Islamic force and urged the IGP to take advice from the AG Abdul Gani Patail on the position of the Shariah and civil courts.
The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) has said that the Islamic religious authorities cannot overstep their boundaries.
Commenting on the child custody battle in Ipoh and the refusal of the Islamic authorities in Selangor to return the seized Bibles, the national interfaith council yesterday urged the Attorney-General to clear the air over the roles of the civil and Shariah courts.
MCCBCHST president Jagir Singh said that a recent statement by the Inspector-General of Police that the civil and Shariah courts were of the same standing was wrong.
“It was very clear from at least three Federal court decisions that the Shariah courts were subordinate courts. As such the police must enforce the civil court orders," he said.
In his reluctance to act on an order by Ipoh High Court, Khalid had said that the Shariah court status was similar to that of the civil court, adding that as such, the police would "remain in the middle" in child custody battles involving a Muslim spouse.
The Ipoh High Court had issued an order on May 30 to arrest a Muslim convert embroiled in a bitter child custody battle with his Hindu ex-wife. The man is arguing that the Shariah court has given him custody of their three children, while the High Court has granted the woman the children’s custody.
Jagir said that the police was a federal force and not a state or Islamic force and urged the IGP to take advice from the Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail on the position of the Shariah and civil courts.
"The remedy lies with the A-G making a statement that as the law stands, the civil court order must be followed," said Jagir, who is also a lawyer.
According to him, any interpretation of the Federal Constitution can only be done by the civil courts and not the Shariah court, as the latter was created by the state and not the constitution.
Jagir also said that the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) must return the 321 Bibles seized from The Bible Society of Malaysia. "The A-G has closed the file, so Jais and Mais must comply," he added.
Council of Churches of Malaysia general-secretary Reverend Dr Hermen Shastri also had earlier said that Jais and Mais were Muslim authorities and their jurisdiction cannot go beyond the Muslim community.
Source: The Malaysian Insider