Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Izwan tells his side of story, warns ex-wife if daughter raised as Hindu

Izwan Abdullah, at the centre of a bitter custody battle with his Hindu ex-wife S. Deepa, insists that their daughter who is now under her mother's care should remain a Muslim, adding that he would snatch her if she is raised as a Hindu. Izwan said he was happy with the Federal Court decision last week giving him custody of their son, and Deepa the custody of their daughter, but was worried about the girl's religious upbringing. The Muslim convert said he understood Deepa's love for her children, but insisted they be raised as Muslims, referring to Mithran, eight, and Sharmila, 11. Otherwise, he said, he will snatch Nurul Nabila (Sharmila) away from her mother. "I read in the media that she plans to raise them as Hindus. Let this be the last time she says that. "If I hear talk again that she wants my kids to become murtad (apostates), or if I find out she is taking my daughter to a Hindu temple or giving her non-halal food, I will snatch my daughter away from her," the 32-year-old told The Malaysian Insider. Izwan said the reason he was adamant about his children being raised as Muslims was because he did not want any conflict over religion to disrupt their studies and peace of mind. "I am their father and I am Muslim. The court did not reverse their conversion to Islam. "So I feel they should be allowed to be Muslims until such time they are of age to decide for themselves whether they want to leave Islam," he said. Izwan said he had been trying to speak to Deepa to settle issues over the well-being of their children, but she rejected any overtures for discussions. "I've gone through our lawyers and asked for her number. I just want to talk to her so that we can thrash out whatever issues we have. "But she refuses and instead prefers venting her frustrations through the press." On February 10, the Federal Court varied a High Court custody order to give custody of the son to the father, while Deepa retained custody of their daughter. The five-man bench also allowed appeals by Izwan, the inspector-general of police and the attorney-general against the Court of Appeal decision that police should have acted on the High Court recovery order. The Shariah court had issued a custody order to Izwan on September 19, 2013 after he had converted both his children. On April 7 the following year, the High Court granted Deepa custody of her children, but two days later, Izwan snatched the son from her. She then obtained a recovery order from the Seremban High Court on May 21, 2014. Below are excerpts of the interview. TMI: What are your thoughts about the Federal Court custody order? Izwan: I suppose I am satisfied. I am also happy that Deepa got custody of one child, I can understand how she feels as a mother. But my fear now is that Deepa will raise Nabila as a Hindu, and I don't want that. My son has been with me and raised as a Muslim, and he is really well-versed with the Quran. So I want my daughter to be raised like that as well, I want to teach her to love Islam. TMI: So what are you going to do about that? Izwan: I hope to be able to arrange so that she can attend some religious classes. And during the time I am allowed to spend with her according to the court order, I will also teach her about Islam. I want to start this soon because you never know when the end will come, when you have to return to Allah. What if my daughter dies suddenly, in an accident or something, how will we bury her? That is my concern. But there is no doubt that my daughter is Muslim. TMI: But Deepa has said she wants to raise the children as Hindus as that is the religion they were born into. What are your thoughts on that? Izwan: I am their father and I am Muslim. The court did not reverse their conversion. So I feel they should be allowed to be Muslims until such time they are of age to decide for themselves if they want to leave Islam. But of course I want to do everything I can to ensure they remain Muslims. I will be discussing with my lawyer soon on what is the next step legally on the conversion matter, if any. But if I hear talk that she wants my kids to become murtad, or if I find out she is taking my daughter to a Hindu temple or eating non-halal food, I will snatch my daughter away from her. TMI: What do you wish for the future? Izwan: I just wish we could talk to each other to thrash out issues over the well-being of our children. She can have anybody else present, I don't mind, whether it's her NGO or her lawyers or even the press. I've made attempts to get her contact number but have not been able to, it appears she doesn't want to speak to me but is willing to speak about me to the media. For instance, she told the press that I have tattoos on my body and that I am a gangster. Yes, I have a tattoo, and yes at one time, I was mixing around with bad friends during my younger days in my hometown in Sepang, but isn't that normal? Does that make me a gangster? And yes, I had a police file but all that is in the past. She also said that I was going after Malay girls, but I married an Indian Muslim. TMI: How is Nabil (Mithran) coping with the new family unit? Izwan: He is doing well, he is a good Muslim and can recite the Quran. And my wife is ten times a better mother to him than Deepa. My wife has two kids from an earlier marriage, a daughter aged 12 and a nine-year old son, we all get along well. And we are expecting a baby in June. As for Deepa making accusations about me being a gangster, she had ample opportunity to leave me as we only had a traditional Hindu wedding in 2004, a few years after we got officially registered. If I were a gangster, she could have left me long ago. I don't want to air dirty linen in public, all I can say is that we were not meant to be together. I also want to clarify that I converted to Islam long before I met my current wife, I converted in 2012 but got married less than two years ago. When I was growing up in Sepang, I used to dislike the sound of the azan, and I used to have only Chinese and Indian friends. It was only when I moved to Deepa's hometown in Jelebu that I got to know about the religion as we were surrounded by Malay neighbours. I thank Allah for that. TMI: Is there anything you want Deepa to know? Izwan: I just want her to know that she can share her problems with me. The other day after the Federal Court decision, she was crying and saying to the media that life is tough for her, financially as well. I want to say that I can afford to raise both kids, she only has to discuss with me, I wouldn't mind she coming to visit them as often as she wishes, I will not stop her if I can have both my children. I am a caretaker of an orphans' home, if I can take care of 25 orphans, of course I can take care of my own two children. She has also complained in the past that she got no help from the police, but the truth is, it is me the police did not help! When I went to them with my Shariah court order, the Jelebu police told me, it's only a Shariah court order, to go and settle it myself since it's a domestic dispute. But when Deepa got her High Court order, the police were knocking on my door in Sepang and tried to take my son away. So I told them, you can take him now, but tomorrow, you will have to return both kids to me as I have Shariah court order, and I asked them, if I can't go to the Shariah court for justice, where should I go? To Indonesia? That's when they went away without taking my son. – February 17, 2016.]]>

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