Sunday, June 17, 2007

Revathi's Freedom of Faith

Candlelight Vigil
In Support of Revathi's Freedom of Faith
Please attend the following peaceful candlelight vigil in support of Revathi, and many others like her, who are unable to fully exercise their Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of faith. The vigil is an initiative of civil society organisations including MCCBCHST (the Malaysian Consultative Council on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism) and various women's rights groups (All Women's Action Society (AWAM), Sisters in Islam (SIS), Women's Aid Organisation (WAO), Women's Centre for Change, Penang (WCC) and Women's Development Collective (WDC)).
Date: Tuesday, 19 June 2007
Time: 8 p.m.
Venue: Dataran Merdeka (at the flagpole)
Please come to show your support in affirming the supremacy of the Federal Constitution and its protection of our fundamental liberties, including the freedom of belief.
Please bring candles, candle-holders and banners.
Summary of Revathi's case :
Revathi, an ethnic Indian woman, has been held in a rehabilitation center run by Islamic authorities since January 2007 because she wants the State to acknowledge she is a Hindu and not a Muslim.
Revathi was born to Indian parents who had converted to Islam before her birth. She claims she was raised by her grandmother as a Hindu. She and Suresh were married according to Hindu rites in March 2004. Revathi was advised by the Malacca Islamic Religious Department to make an application at the Malacca Syariah High Court to confirm her status as a Hindu. She did as she was told.
However, the Syariah Court ordered her detained in a rehabilitation centre in Ulu Yam, Selangor under Melaka's Syariah criminal laws for 100 days. This detention was extended in Revathi's absence for a further 80 days supposedly because she had not "repented". In the meanwhile, Revathi's Muslim mother obtained a Syariah Court order granting her custody of Revathi and Suresh's 15 month old baby. That order was enforced on Suresh's Hindu family with the assistance of the police.
The family is now torn apart - with the mother in detention, the child with the grandparents and the father in limbo without his family.

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