Friday, 23 August 2013

Datin Paduka Prof Dr Hjh Mehrun Siraj




Introduction

Dr Mehrun Siraj is a professor of law at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). She has served as an advocate and solicitor, a consultant for UN agencies, and is a former member of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM).

Qualifications

LLB (Hons) (Singapore), LLM and PhD (London University, School of Oriental and African Studies, SOAS);

Positions held & Affiliations
  1. Former Suhakam commissioner.
  2. Advocate and Solicitor High Court of Malaya (non-practising);
  3. Adjunct Professor, Kulliyah of Laws, International Islamic University Malaysia
  4. Board of Directors, Institut Rakyat (under PKR): http://www.institutrakyat.org/about-us/board-of-directors/
Institut Rakyat
6, Lorong 5/17D, Section 5, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Phone: +60 (0)3 7931 7890
E-Mail: info@institutrakyat.org
Web: www.institutrakyat.org
Institut Rakyat is chaired by Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Institut Rakyat's board of directors consists of Senator Dr Syed Husin Ali, artist, educator and social activist Wong Hoy Cheong, businessman Tan Sri Wan Azmi Wan Hamzah, entrepreneur and investor Dr Tan Boon Kean and International Islamic University Malaysia law professor Dr Mehrun Siraj. Read more: http://www.fz.com/content/prominent-figures-drive-pkrs-institut-rakyat#ixzz2cm94XlDY
Launch of Institut Rakyat
Institut Rakyat - Ke Arah Malaysia Baru (posted on 21 February 2013)
Mohamad Isamuddin blogspot
http://mohamadisamuddin.blogspot.com/2013/02/institut-rakyat-ke-arah-malaysia-baru.html

Listings

Prof. Adjung Hjh. Mehrun binti Siraj
Kulliyah Undang-Undang Ahmad Ibrahim
Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia
in
Attorney General's Chambers
No. 45, Persiaran Perdana
Precinct
4, 62100 Putrajaya
Tel: 03-8872 - 2000
Tel: 03-8890 - 5670
Email: pro@agc.gov.my
Official portal of the Attorney General's Chambers of Malaysia
http://www.agc.gov.my/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=371&Itemid=279&lang=en

Papers, Presentations and Internet Articles

1965-1979

Mehrun Siraj (1965), “The Legal Effect of Conversion to Islam, Viswalingam
S. v. Viswalingam U.(1979)”, Mal. L.R., Vol. 7, No. 1.

2006

Conversion to Islam and its effect on a non-Muslim marriage. (2006)
Prof. Mehrun Siraj
Presented at the inaugural law conference, Overview of Recent Development in Malaysian Law, organised by the Law Faculty of Universiti Malaya and LexisNexis.
From: iMOL Archives (www.indianmalaysian.com)
http://www.indianmalaysian.com/sound/modules.php?name=News&file=print&sid=75

2008

HUMAN RIGHTS IN MALAYSIA: THE LAST TEN YEARS - WOMEN AND RELIGION
Mehrun Siraj
http://www.suhakam.org.my/c/document_library/get_file?p_l_id=24205&folderId=64628&name=DLFE-5413.pdf 

Dr Mehrun Siraj challenges Badawi to be sincere about resolving conflicts between Muslim convert and non-converting spouse.
http://omong.wordpress.com/2008/08/12/dr-mehrun-siraj-challenges-badawi-to-be-sincere-about-resolving-conflicts-between-muslim-convert-and-non-converting-spouse/
The recommendation by a former SUHAKAM Commissioner, Dr. Mehrun Siraj that the Syariah court should not unilaterally make any decisions that might affect the rights of non Muslims, is a sound initiative towards resolving the issue and should be seriously considered by all states.
Bar Council forum on conversion to Islam
MPF PRESS RELEASE
12th August 2008
Dr. Mazeni Alwi
Chairman
Muslim Professionals Forum
http://mpf.org.my/wp/?p=727

2009 
Seminar Agama dan Hak Asasi Manusia : Ke Arah Pemurniaan Kefahaman
Written by Unit Perhubungan Korporat. Posted in Buletin
Kertas 10 "Human Rights and Freedom of Religion" oleh Prof. Dr. Mehrun Siraj (Prof. Adjung, Kulliyyah Undang-undang Ahmad Ibrahim UIAM); (Paper delivered at the Malaysian Human Rights Day 2009, The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), September 2009), page 1 - 31
http://www.ikim.gov.my/index.php/en/buletin/8151-seminar-agama-dan-hak-asasi-manusia-ke-arah-pemurniaan-kefahaman

Child Custody Cases Between Muslim and Non Muslim Parents Needed Resolution
By Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin
http://www.ukm.my/news/index.php/en/research-news/1077-child-custody-cases-between-muslim-and-non-muslim-parents-needed-resolution.html

2010

The politics of dialogue
By K Shanmuga (29 January 2010)
http://www.thenutgraph.com/the-politics-of-dialogue/

2013

Khamis Februari 21, 2013
mStar Online: PKR Lancar Institut Rakyat Kaji Dasar Politik Baru
Oleh IWAN SHU-ASWAD SHUAIB
http://www.mstar.com.my/berita/cerita.asp?file=/2013/2/21/mstar_berita/20130221195143&sec=mstar_berita

Books & Ads


Resolving Child Custody Disputes: The Law & Practice in Malaysia by Dr Mehrun Siraj (LexisNexis, 2012).
http://www.lexisnexis.com.my/store/catalog/apac/catalog.jsp?pageName=catalogProducts&catId=mycat0&id=mycat19&ProductperPage=25&sortBy=name

Dispute Resolution
http://disputeresolutionlaw.info/booksandarticles/resolving-child-custody-disputes-the-law-and-practice-in-malaysia-436.html

Source: LexisNexis
Date of Publication: Wednesday, 01 August 2012
Original Title: Resolving Child Custody Disputes- The Law and Practice in Malaysia
Author/Editor: Dr Mehrun Siraj
Publisher/Journal: LexisNexis Malaysia
Price: RM150.00
ISBN/ISBN-13/ISSN:  9789674000912

Visitations

Law Faculty, Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia
http://www.bond.edu.au/faculties/law/international-students/country-specific-information/malaysia/index.htm

Dialogues

Dialogue with KAMI representatives

Other

Supporter of Checkpoint Theatre in Singapore
http://checkpoint-theatre.org/support-us

Malay Wikipedia on Dr Mehrun Siraj (empty)
http://ms.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mehrun_Siraj&action=edit&redlink=1

Life Story

From The Star
Taken from Muslim Life Malaysia (posted Monday, 26 June 2006)
http://muslimlifemalaysia.blogspot.com/2006_06_01_archive.html

By Mehrun Siraj

I grew up in the minority Muslim community of secular Singapore. My teacher father and social worker mother were both social activists and leaders of the community. I consider myself fortunate that because of my mixed parentage, my religious education was a combination of the traditional method of learning about Islam and the broader approach of a convert.

So we had an Ustazah coming to the house to teach us to read the Quran and perform the Solat in the right manner. My mother’s family was strict about performing the five daily prayers right on time and in carrying out all the other obligations imposed on Muslims.

My better understanding of the religion, however, came from my father who was the epitome of Islamic ideals. He emphasized the values that Islam expected of its followers – integrity, diligence, patience, compassion, charity, and the importance of amanah – what we are entrusted with and our duties to discharge that trust in accordance with Allah’s teachings.

I learnt and absolutely believe that the Quran is the Word of God, meant as a guide to mankind for all times and for all places. To me, the Quran is the anchor that prevents the ship of society from being buffeted by the winds of change in human behaviour resulting from a refusal to obey God’s prescriptions for human conduct.

From my constant reading of a paperback copy of Pickthall’s translation of the Quran while I was growing up, I was able to quote in English, verses which were to help me through life’s difficult times. Sadly, despite several forays into intensive Arabic courses, I am still unable to quote the Arabic text.

Surrounded as I was by people who personified Islamic values, it was inevitable that I develop a strong faith. The first test of my faith was when the question of marriage came up. I had been dating a Hindu classmate and under Islamic Law a Muslim woman can only marry a Muslim man.

For a valid Muslim marriage, my intended had to convert to Islam. Perhaps this is why many of my Muslim friends will not date non-Muslim men – to avoid this difficult situation. Our situation was made even more difficult because we were presented with a choice.

We were in Singapore and the Women’s Charter allows a civil marriage between a Muslim and a non-Muslim. Such a marriage would be valid by Singapore law but not according to Islam.
The Islamic Law on capacity to marry is codified from verse 2:221 of the Quran:
“Do not marry unbelieving women until they believe?
Nor marry your girls to unbelievers until they believe?”
Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s commentary of this verse explains: “If religion is at all a real influence in life to both parties or to either party, a difference in this vital matter must affect the lives of both more profoundly than differences of birth, race, language or position in life. It is therefore only right that the parties to be married should have the same spiritual outlook. If two persons love each other, their outlook in the highest things of life must be the same.” That is the traditional view.

There are those who advocate an amendment to the law, arguing that the Quran should be interpreted contextually –relate the text to its socio-historical context and then relate it to the present.

I have done that with the verse above but I am unable to identify the change in society that justifies a shift from the traditional interpretation.

The argument that women today are better educated, economically independent and more mobile does not rebut Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s explanation.
Has anyone studied mixed marriages where only the wife is Muslim? What is the effect on the spirituality of the woman, the upbringing of the children and the general pattern of their lives?
Such studies would be more relevant for consideration than the other reasons that have been advanced.

For example, we are told that other Muslim countries have made the changes and their action hailed as a progressive step forward in guaranteeing Human Rights for Muslim women. Shouldn’t we think about the impact of such changes before blindly following them?

I hear the call to amend the relevant domestic laws so that women can have equal rights with men in relation to the family and thus enable Malaysia to withdraw her reservation to Article 16 of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Muslims can subscribe to the theory of the universality of Human Rights but only to the extent that it does not conflict with clearly stated principles in the Quran. We cannot reject Quranic verses just to bring ourselves in line with UN Conventions and the practice in other parts of the world.

Should the fear of being labelled “backward” push us into reforming our Islamic laws? Shouldn’t the fear of incurring Allah’s wrath be a more important consideration in our deliberations?

Thirty five years ago, I could not see any reason for going against the Word of God, whatever the law of the land provided, and today, I am still unable to find the justification for rejecting the Quranic injunction.

So what does one do when the person one loves refuses to convert to Islam? My advice to everyone in that situation has always been the same – break up and go your separate ways. I have been asked how I can be so heartless when Islam itself is not heartless.

Unfortunately, I have not found any verse that says it is all right to go against the teachings of the Quran for the sake of someone you love. No matter how much we may love a fellow human being, we must love Allah even more. And that, I guess, is the bottom line – how much do we love our God?

Those who believe know that Allah will give them what is best for them, even if it is not what they want. For me, it was a happy ending.

The only love in my life had been attracted to Islam from his school days in Penang when he watched Anwar Fazal’s family going to the mosque for Friday prayers in their “furry” Pakistani caps (as he called them). His knowledge and belief increased as he read all the books on Islam in my father’s vast collection during the six years of our courtship, so when the time came, we had an akad nikah in secular Singapore.

Now retired, the writer has served as a Professor, an Advocate and Solicitor, a Consultant for UN agencies, a Commissioner of Human Rights and an NGO activist. 


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