Federal Court Dismisses Discrimination Case Against Muslims With Turbans and Beards

July 13, 2006

Source: The Star


On July 13, 2006 The Star reported, "Islam is not about turban and beard, said the Federal Court in dismissing an appeal by three pupils who were expelled from school nine years ago for refusing to take off their serban. The panel of three judges led by Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Abdul Malek Ahmad was unanimous in their decision that not everything that Prophet Muhammad did – or the way he did it – is legally or religiously binding on Muslims, or even preferable and should be followed... In 1997, SK Serting Felda headmistress Fatimah Sihi expelled Meor Atiqulrahman Ishak, then 13, and two other students – brothers Syed Abdullah Khaliq Aslamy Syed Ahmad Johari, then 11, and Syed Ahmad Syakur Dihya Syed Ahmad Johari, then 10 – for wearing the turban to school. On Aug 6, 1999, the High Court revoked the expulsion order, ruling that the headmistress had no power to expel the students for wearing the headgear. On Nov 22, 2004, the Court of Appeal set aside the High Court ruling. Justice Abdul Hamid said: 'The question is whether the wearing of turbans by boys of the age of the appellants is a practice of the religion of Islam'... He said he could not accept the submission of the students’ counsel Mohamed Hanipa Maidin that the school regulation violated the provisions of the Constitution. Mohamed Hanipa had submitted that the appeal was related to the right to practise one’s religion and that includes every religious practice that has some basis or has become part of that religion, whether mandatory or otherwise. 'To accept the learned counsel’s argument would mean that anybody has a right to do anything, at any time and anywhere he considers to be a practice of his religion, no matter how trivial,' said Justice Abdul Hamid. "