Intercultural marriage is not uncommon in Malaysia. However, it can get messy, when involving religion.
An Indian man posted a video on social media, claiming he had convinced his Muslim wife to convert to Hinduism. The video quickly went viral, triggering many and leading to a raid at his house.
Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay stated that the police identified the man and were alerted to the raid. They checked the house around 9:50pm on 19th February. A group of people waiting outside the house in Bandar Dato’ Onn, suspected the 29-year-old Indian man was inside. “We were able to control the situation,” he said. “However, the man was not found in the house. Only his father and sister were in the house.” He also added that no arrests were made and no items were seized during the incident.
According to the police chief, Bukit Aman’s Classified Criminal Investigation Department (USJT) investigated the video when it went viral. The case was investigated under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948, Section 298 and Section 505(c) of the Penal Code, as well as Section 233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998. He urged the public to not take matters into their own hands and to inform the police if they had any information. This was to avoid disharmony and to ensure public safety.
Jakim’s Director-General Datuk Abdul Aziz Jusoh also requested the public allow the issue to be handled by the relevant authorities. “Jakim has been made to understand that the issue is under the attention of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) after receiving several complaints from several parties,” he explained. He also stressed that Muslims renouncing Islam can be prosecuted under the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment, which is enforced in several states. He then advised all Muslims to focus on “strengthening the institution of Islamic families” and caring for one another.
A second video was released shortly after by the woman. She claimed to be from Indonesia and stated she had renounced Islam while in her country. She stated that the previous video was a mistake and stated she and her husband have apologised to the Malaysian ministers and citizens.
Additionally, she asked for forgiveness, saying “Please forgive my husband, we still have a child. The child is young and needs his father very much.” She acknowledged that not everyone will forgive them, but they have promised not to record videos related to religion.