The Role of Islamic Religious Department of Selangor in Managing Rohingyas Refugees’ Marriage
This study focuses on the initiative of the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) in addressing the issue of Rohingya refugee marriage in Malaysia. Rohingya refugees originate in the state of Rakhine, the western part of Myanmar, which is bordered by Bangladesh. The formation of the Rohingya identity is influenced by Islamic religious and mixed marriages between Persian and Arab merchants with locals. Citizenship rights of the Rohingya have been denied by the Myanmar government and they are also discriminated against by locals of the majority Buddhist. This situation forced them to become refugees to save themselves and build a new life. Malaysia is among of the main destinations of the Rohingya refugees even though the government does not recognize the status of them. The uncertainty of life in Malaysia also affects social relationships among them, especially in the context of marriage. Hence, qualitative research methods are used to obtain information in this study. In-depth interviews were conducted from the Islamic religious officials such as the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) and JAIS at their institutions around Putrajaya and Shah Alam. The findings show that JAIS is the first government agency to initiate a marriage guideline for Rohingya refugees who are Muslims, especially the Rohingya refugees who reside in Selangor. This effort is aimed at helping to manage the marriage of the Rohingya refugees in fulfilling the legal requirements of Islam (Islamic law). However, JAIS will not process the Rohingya refugee marriages that do not possess UNHCR refugee cards. This is because it involves security issues and is contrary to national laws specifically the Immigration Act..