KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 ― The high-profile case of Hindu mother Indira Gandhi’s long-drawn out court battle over her three children converted to Islam by their father without her knowledge or permission has gained her sympathy over the past seven years.
Some of the support has come from unexpected sources, like Muslim non-governmental organisation Jihad for Justice.
Its chairman Datuk Thasleem Mohd Ibrahim asserts that unilateral conversion of children to Islam is against one of the key principles of the religion, justice, and is therefore “haram” or forbidden.
“I’ve categorically told the Perak Islamic Religious Department that the unilateral conversion of the kids is haram because it’s an injustice,” he told Malay Mail Online in a recent interview.
Thasleem has been a vocal supporter of Indira’s legal right to seek the reversal of her three children’s 2009 unilateral conversion, which had been granted by the High Court in 2010 but cancelled by the Court of Appeal last year.
“What has happened here is an injustice and it says in the Quran that committing an injustice is haram.
“You can’t tell me that injustices itself have different levels. An injustice is an injustice,” he said.
Adding to Indira’s woes is her struggle to recover her youngest child, Prasana Diksa, whom she last saw aged 11 months.
Her former husband who now goes by his Muslim name Muhammad Riduan has since disappeared with the girl, and their whereabouts remain unknown despite a court order last month for his arrest.
Thasleem vented his indignation at the father’s act in persisting to separate the mother and child.
“Taking away a child who is being breastfed like in Indira Gandhi’s case, that is, according to all the religious scholars I’ve met, the most un-Islamic thing ever.
“I’ll go one step further and say it’s barbaric and inhuman,” he said.
Today, the Federal Court will decide whether or not to grant Indira permission to appeal the Court of Appeal’s 2015 ruling upholding the unilateral conversion of her three children.
Regardless of which way Malaysia’s highest court rules on the conversion issue, there will not be full closure for Indira and her two elder children who are now 19 and 18 until they are reunited with Prasana Diksa.