PUTRAJAYA, Feb 10 ― Muslim convert Izwan Abdullah was a happy man today when the Federal Court agreed to grant him custody of his youngest child, eight-year-old Nabil, although the order did not extend to his eldest, 11-year-old Sharmila.
The 33-year-old father, unperturbed by the custody split and his ex-wife S. Deepa’s emotional outburst outside the courtroom here, was all smiles when the decision was delivered, and was later seen enveloping Nabil and his new now-pregnant wife Sasi Begum Abdullah in a fierce hug.
“I really agree with the decision because if the court gives both kids to Deepa, then I would feel upset because both are my kids, and if I get both the kids, Deepa would also be upset.
“If court rules each of us get one kid, that I really agree,” Izwan, who works with a charity body in Pahang, told reporters.
He noted that he would still have visitation rights to Sharmila, and could also contact her to maintain a relationship with his daughter.
Additionally, he expressed hope that his former spouse would one day embrace Islam like he and several other members of her family have.
“My kids, they too want to convert to Islam… look at how their mother is… actually we are both the same. She (Deepa) also wants to convert to Islam because all of her family members have already converted.
“She is the only one who did not… she has not gotten the hidayah (guidance)... God-willing she will get it soon,” Izwan, formerly Viran Nagapan said.
When asked if he would agree if his children, who were unilaterally converted to Islam, denounced the faith when they turned 18, Izwan said that he would not support such a move but added that the decision was between his children and Allah.
He, however, expressed confidence that his son would remain a Muslim.
The Federal Court earlier today divided the custody of Mithran and Sharmila, handing the son to Izwan and the daughter to Deepa.
A five-man bench comprising Tan Sri Raus Sharif, Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong, Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar and Datuk Seri Azahar Mohamed reached the decision after interviewing the children in chambers at the start of the case.
The panel led by Raus also set aside a Negri Sembilan High Court decision that granted Deepa full custody of her children.
In his decision, Raus said that based on the panel’s interview with the children in chambers, Mithran wanted to be with his father while Sharmila wanted to live with her mother.
He then ordered both parties to discuss access before the court adjourned.