KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — The father of Zarinah Abdul Majid, whose Hindu wedding ceremony was interrupted by Selangor religious authorities recently, has said he would never permit his children to renounce Islam.
Security guard Abdul Majeed Gulam Kader said he would not sign documents allowing Zarinah, 32, and her three siblings — Shahull Salleh, Zaleha and Abdul Gulam — to change their names to Hindu names at the National Registration Department (NRD).
According to English daily The Star, Abdul Majeed pointed out that his parents are Pakistani and Indian Muslims, and that his father had gotten his (Abdul Majeed’s) wife Vasantha converted to Islam upon their marriage.
“They were born to Muslim parents and that makes them Muslims too,” he was quoted as saying.
Abdul Majeed also said his estranged wife Vasantha, who is also Zarinah’s mother, had a Muslim name.
“Vasantha’s Muslim name is Zainab and that is the name in all the children’s birth certificates,” he said.
The security guard also denied his daughter’s claims that he was estranged from his family when she was young, saying that he was thrown out of the family home in 2000 instead after he scolded his younger daughter for coming home late.
“Some hurtful words were exchanged and I’ve not been in good terms with them since,” said Abdul Majeed.
He added that he has been homeless since and was living at his workplace.
The Star also reported Abdul Majeed’s stepmother Fatimah Abdullah as saying that Abdul Majeed and his wife used to argue over the latter’s practice of taking their children to a Hindu temple when they were young.
“I reported the matter to Jais twice some years ago about the children being taken to the temple, but it did not bother to do anything,” Fatimah was quoted as saying, referring to the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais).
In a separate news story, The Star also reported the NRD as saying that they have never received any application from Zarinah to change her name or religious status.
“If a Muslim wants to change their religion, they must go to the Shariah court and the judges will decide. After that, we will facilitate according to the procedures,” NRD director-general Datuk Sulaiman Keling was quoted as saying.
Zarinah reportedly said recently that she had applied to change her religion in her identity card (IC), but the application was turned down as she did not have supporting documents from her father.
On Sunday, religious authorities detained Zarinah in the midst of her Hindu wedding ceremony at a temple in Taman Sri Aman, Petaling Jaya, on suspicion that she, as 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.