The Choice We As Parents Make
Can A Seven-Year-Old Declare Faith?
Now imagine a traumatised little girl who had just been kidnapped and driven from Penang to Selangor, reciting the syahadah in a language she had never spoken a word of before; and doing it twice correctly (a procedural convention) in the presence of intimidating strangers in an alien environment, a long way from home.
Helen Ang in her Malaysiakini blog on January 7, 2011 posted an interesting article: "Can a seven-year old declare faith?" She wrote that Tan Yi Min is now Eilliyah Foong Abdullah. The child is Tan Cheow Hong's daughter. She was born into the Tan family. Her grandfather belonged to the 'Tan' clan. So did her great grandfather and her great, great grandfather. Her mother Fatimah Foong Abdullah @ Fong Mee Hui has with cold calculation misused Islam to deprive 'Eilliyah Foong Abdullah' of her birthright - the 'Tan' surname.
Yi Min's mother converted her on 9 November 2010 at the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department. She had picked her daughter up from school on 8 November. This indicates that Fatimah converted Yi Min on the very next day. Remember that the child has lived with her father for the past three years. She had never been taught about Islam and knows nothing about the religion. However, in less than 24 hours after she was forcibly taken away with the help of the police and Islamic officials, the little girl miraculously declared before a set of Islamic bureaucrats that she wished to embrace Islam.
On 27 December 2010, Tan Yi Min was brought to Penang High Court wrapped in a tudung. Her Muslim convert mother Fatimah Foong Abdullah had dressed her seven-year-old Chinese daughter in Malay attire along with Muslim head covering, China Press reported.
It is an interesting article for us Christian parents who sometimes do not realise the consequences our choices have on our children while they are in our care. For Tan Yi Min, her faith has been irrevocably decided by her mother. When she reaches adulthood she cannot change her status because in Islam she will be declared an apostate if she does so.
Also mentioned in the article was the question raised by one Encik Sharifuddin Abdul Latiff, the administrator of the media watch group Hartal MSM. He was quoted saying that the first thought that crossed his mind was:"Bagaimana budak Cina tujuh tahun boleh mengucap dua kalimah syahadah?"
You try saying this: ašhadu an la ilaha illa (A)llah, wa ašhadu anna Muhammada(n) rasulu (A)llah. Now imagine a traumatised little girl who had just been kidnapped and driven from Penang to Selangor, reciting the syahadah in a language she had never spoken a word of before; and doing it twice correctly (a procedural convention) in the presence of intimidating strangers in an alien environment, a long way from home.
The Bible has an account of how a father made a tragic vow to God without realising that his decision would inadvertently affect his own daughter. In Judges 11, Jephthah said to the Lord, "If you will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hands, then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon it shall be the Lord's, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering."
When Jephthah returned, it was his daughter who came out to meet him. He realised that he had given his word to the Lord and could not take it back. She was his only child.
As Christian parents, we need to guard ourselves from making the wrong choices for our children, especially the ones that affect their future. What we decide now can hold grave consequences for them. Many times our decisions do have selfish motives and they affect the lives of those whom we love. Seek the Lord's wisdom and the counsel of godly men or women who can help you to think and pray through the situation. Never make choices that have selfish motives.