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Firdaus Wong’s Advice On How To Convert Minors Sparks Worry Among Parents

Firdaus Wong’s Advice On How To Convert Minors Sparks Worry Among Parents

Firdaus Wong’s advice brings back the longstanding past cases of forced Islamic conversions in Malaysia that’s seemingly still happening today.

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Preacher Firdaus Wong Wai Hung has been criticised for allegedly giving controversial advice regarding the conversion of minor non-Muslims into the religion without their parent’s consent last week.

In the viral TikTok video, a man believed to be a teacher and TikTok influencer asked Wong what to do when underaged non-Muslim teenagers secretly texted to express their desire to convert to Islam.

The man added that these teenagers asked how they can still practice the faith such as covering their aurat and performing prayers without their parents’ knowledge.

@brofirdauswong “Saya takut mati luar Islam” Budak form 3 form & form 4 ‘dm’ nak masuk Islam. Macam mana untuk bantu mereka? Soalan dari @Ustaz Adnin #islam #muslim #firdauswong #brofirdauswong #dakwah #multiracialrevertedmuslims #cinamuslim #chinesemuslim #mrm #quran #sunnah #nonmuslim #kafir #christian #hindu #buddha #taoism #chinese #sikhism #hinduism #christianity #yesus #kristus #yesuskristus #kristen #minatislam ♬ original sound – FirdausWong

Firdaus replied it was a common question and pointed out that there is no age restriction to convert to Islam.

However, for the man’s case, Firdaus recommended the man convert the children by proclaiming the shahadah but don’t take any pictures or videos to announce the conversion and don’t register the conversion.

As for prayers, Firdaus said the children can pray within their limits and ability such as praying in secret in their locked room. If they have no privacy at home, Firdaus suggested they pray outside before coming home or under the blanket.

What if the converts died but did not register their change of faith? Firdaus said Muslims should pray for the deceased and let the respective funeral arrangements proceed. He added there’s no need to dig up or exhume the body to be moved to the proper burial place.

It’s against the law to convert minors without parental consent

Under Malaysian law, it’s illegal to convert minors without parental consent. Firdaus Wong’s comments sparked worries among parents and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It’s also unethical for adults to do so to minors under their care.

The Federal Constitution under Article 12 Clause 3 & 4 specifies the following:

  • Clause (3) – No person shall be required to receive instruction in or to take part in any ceremony or act of worship of a religion other than his own.
  • Clause (4) – For the purposes of Clause (3), the religion of a person under the age of 18 years shall be decided by his parents or guardian.

Global Human Rights Federation (GHRF) president, S. Shashi Kumar, said the advice given by Firdaus has not only disregarded the rights of parents but also raised questions about the ethical principles involved in religious conversions.

Moreover, the suggestion made by the preacher to convert the minors first and then teach them about Islam, including how to perform prayers ‘under the blanket’, raises concerns about the authenticity and sincerity of religious conversions.

True faith should stem from genuine belief and understanding rather than being coerced or manipulated in any way. By advocating covert conversions, the preacher seems to be promoting a superficial and insincere approach which goes against the principles of our law and Federal Constitution.

S. Shashi Kumar, Global Human Rights Federation (GHRF) president

Hindu Agamam Ani Malaysia Society president, Arun Dorasamy, said the government should make a statement to condemn Firdaus Wong’s actions.

The society put forward three demands concerning the Education Ministry:

  • They asked for Firdaus Wong and people like him to be banned from entering public schools so that non-Muslim parents could send their children to school with peace of mind.
  • They want the police and the Attorney General’s Chambers of Malaysia (AGC) to take strict action because there are no good past records about such issues.
  • They want the Madani government to issue an official statement condemning such unethical actions from certain groups, especially abusing and taking advantage of children.

Shashi Kumar said GHRF witnessed many such unlawful conversions in Malaysia and urged the Education Ministry, Islamic Development Department (JAKIM), and other Islamic bodies to investigate the matter.

Past cases of alleged conversions without consent

There have been such cases in previous years but there seemed to be a lack of action or enforcement.

Most recently, in 2023, a group of 137 Orang Asli from the Bateq Mayah tribe sought to nullify their Islamic status after claiming they were duped into converting during a mass conversion 30 years ago.

In 2019, a group of Temiars from Gerik villages submitted a memorandum to the government to stop making them Muslims without their consent. The group claimed they were registered as Muslims on their ICs without their knowledge and their children have been taught Islam in school. The children were also forced to fast without parental permission.

In 2015, a 16-year-old Christian girl from SMK Kinarut in Sabah was allegedly converted by a hostel warden without the consent of her parents. The school’s former hostel warden allegedly incited the conversion of the student with the recital of the shahadah.

In 2014, a group of indigenous Sabahan villages from the remote Pitas district were allegedly deceived into embracing Islam for RM100 by a Muslim welfare group.

In 2010, some Orang Asli people shared that these groups employ various tactics to trick people into converting. The groups would trick the Orang Asli into reciting the shahadah when they renewed their IC or get invited to a dinner banquet which turned out to be a mass conversion ceremony.

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