Fearing family’s wrath, newly converted Sabah teen seeks police help
Jilius Yapoo talks to his village development and security chairman Michael Frederick after visiting SMK Kinarut and was told the school would send his four children, residing at the school's hostel, home for the day.
KOTA KINABALU, Feb 12 — Afraid she would be beaten for converting to Islam without her parents’ consent, the SMK Kinarut 16-year-old at the centre of the storm decided on Wednesday to seek help from the police by lodging a report.
A police source confirmed with Malay Mail Online that a report was received from the girl, who said she was afraid of how her family would react.
“She said she was afraid of the retribution from her family, so she lodged the police report on her own accord,” said the source who declined to be named.
The student, originally a Christian, created controversy last week after reports surfaced that she had recited the Kalimah Syahada to declare her acceptance of Islam and donned the tudung, or Muslim religious veil, without her parents’ knowledge.
It was alleged that she was influenced by the school’s former hostel warden during her board.
SMK Kinarut principal Datin Joharah Abdullah had on Monday claimed that the school was unaware of the conversion until a police report was lodged by her father, 46-year-old Jilius Yapoo.
According to the law, a minor’s religion is decided by her parents. Under religious law, reciting the Syahada suffices to make a person Muslim, but not under the Constitution, which states that the under-aged child needs her parent’s consent.
The drama continued yesterday when Jilius went to the school to take his daughter home but was stopped by the authorities, who cited “police protection” as their reason for blocking him.
“She told me she wasn’t sure she wanted to come home because she was afraid she would be beaten.
“I don’t know how that thought came to her mind. I just want her home and with her family to talk,” he said yesterday morning, adding that the school would not release her until his lawyer phoned them.
The daughter, along with her three younger siblings studying at the same school, was sent home hours later via transportation provided by the school.
The school will pick them up some 24 hours later for reasons unclear to Jilius.
Police later said that they had not prevented the student from going home with her parents, claiming it was a matter between the school and the parents.
“Whether or not the parents can take her home is between the school and her. We cannot stop them. But outsiders should also not be interfering,” said the spokesman.
Jilius said he would spend whatever time possible with his family and try to reconnect with his daughter and convince her to stay in the same faith for now, till she reaches the age of consent.
He is, however, considering taking legal action against the school for allowing the so-called conversion to happen without his consent, and may decide to transfer his children from the school.
The school could not be reached for comment.
State Education director Datuk Jame Alip said that the parents and the principal should meet to resolve the matter.
THIS IS GETTING OUT OF HAND AND IS UTTER RUBBISH THAT AN UNDERAGE CHILD WISHES TO CONVERT TO ISLAM.
I PERSONALLY KNOW OF MANY MALAYS WHO USED THEIR INFLUENCE'S AS TEACHER AND POSITION TO CONVERT NON-MUSLIM CHILDREN AND HELPLESS ADULT.
THE CHILD CONCERN IN THE ABOVE ARTICLE IS TRULY SCARE THAT IF SHE WERE TO CONVERT BACK TO CHRISTIAN, SHE AND HER FAMILY WOULD SUFFER IN HELL OR SEND TO JAIL.
I HAVE PERSONALLY GONE THROUGH THIS WHEN MY SON WAS MOLESTED BY NORA ZAM ZAM FROM SRI KUALA LUMPUR WHEN HE WAS JUST SIX YEARS OLD. THE OWNER OF THE SCHOOL OSMAN MERICAN, THE PRINCIPAL THEN MRS SIEW AND ONE OF THE SUPERVISOR USED SCARE TACTICS ON MY SON AND DAUGHTER WHO WAS ONE OF THE WITNESSES THAT NORA ZAM ZAM DID NOT MOLEST AMIR BUT WAS JUST PUTTING MEDICINE ON HIS THIGH. THEY EVEN TOLD MY CHILDREN THAT THE POLICE WOULD PUT ME IN JAIL IF THEY DID NOT CHANGE THEIR STORY.
TO ENSURE I WAS FOUND GUILTY IN COURT, OSMAN MERICAN EVEN PAID OFF THE JUDGE'S HUSBAND DEBT. THIS IS HOW DESPERATE WHEN ONE DOES NOT WANT ANYONE TO KNOW THE TRUTH.
I FEEL SORRY FOR JILIUS AND WISH THAT MORE NGOs WOULD STEP UP THE PRESSURE AGAINST THE SCHOOL AND EDUCATION MINISTRY. WITHOUT PRESSURE JILIUS WILL NEVER GET JUSTICE LIKE ME AND WILL DEFINITELY LOSE ALL HIS CHILDREN IN THE NEAR FUTURE.