Johor religious authorities: Illi Najwa still a Muslim after marrying Indian hockey star

Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar and Illi Najwa Anuar Hussin Saddique (centre) at Istana Bukit Pelangi in Johor Baru today. — Picture courtesy of the Royal Press Office
Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar and Illi Najwa Anuar Hussin Saddique (centre) at Istana Bukit Pelangi in Johor Baru today. — Picture courtesy of the Royal Press Office

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JOHOR BARU, March 18 — Johor Islamic Religious Department (JAINJ) said today its investigation showed that Illi Najwa Anuar Hussin Saddique, who is married to Indian hockey captain Manpreet Singh Pawar, has never left Islam.

According to a statement uploaded on Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar's official Facebook account, the result of the investigation was presented to the Ruler by Johor Mufti Datuk Yahya Ahmad and JAINJ director Datuk Md Rofiki Shamsudin at Istana Bukit Pelangi here today.

“JAINJ has called Illi Najwa along with her mother and several other witnesses where statements were also taken.

“The result of the investigation found that Illi Najwa never left Islam. In fact, today, she also came with us to meet the Sultan,” Yahya was quoted by the Royal Press Office and was published on Sultan Ibrahim’s Facebook post.

According to Yahya, the registration of the couple's marriage in Johor Baru is also currently being processed.

“There is no problem to register their marriage and this issue has also been resolved,” he said.

In December last year, Sultan Ibrahim ordered JAINJ and the Johor Mufti‘s Office to investigate the current religious status of the woman who was reportedly married to the Indian hockey captain.

Sultan Ibrahim was reported to have advised the public to avoid jumping to conclusions on the issue of Illi Najwa’s marriage to the Indian hockey captain.

He pointed out that Illi Najwa had yet to declare that she wishes to leave Islam and added that any premature punishment against her would only make it more difficult for her to return home, while widening the gap between her family in Malaysia and India.

Illi Najwa, the niece of Unity Minister and Johor MP Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique, courted controversy when videos of her wedding in Punjab in a Sikh ceremony went viral last December.

Over the weekend, she posted news of her travelling to India to get married to Manpreet Singh, with videos of her wedding in Punjab during a Sikh ceremony.

Malaysian critics immediately questioned her being given special permission to travel during the movement control order, as well as questioning her status as a Muslim as she was seen taking part in a Sikh religious ceremony.

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