Malaysian Islamic Body Rejects Proposed Conversion Rule Meant to Ease Religious Tensions

April 29, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The International Herald Tribune

Wire Service: AP

Islamic authorities have rejected a proposal by Malaysia's prime minister that would require non-Muslims to inform their families before converting to Islam.

The decision was made at a weekend meeting of top Islamic authorities, including legal and spiritual advisers, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department's director-general, Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz, said in a statement received Tuesday.

The department's rejection was a setback for the proposal, which minority religious groups had hoped would alleviate interfaith tensions in the Muslim-majority nation.

The department's approval is needed to implement any rule relating to Islam. But the government can still get Parliament to pass a law which would override the department's objections.