PETALING JAYA • A Malaysian couple in Norway are facing child abuse charges, after being accused of hitting and pressuring their children to perform their prayers and forcing them to fast during Ramadan.
They will have their case heard in court from Monday to Wednesday.
The couple, both 42, have been separated from their five children - aged five to 15 - since May.
The children have been placed under the care of three other families and are allowed to meet their parents only once a month for three hours.
The father's brother told The Star on Thursday that one of the children had felt pressured by the obligation to fast for long hours and had complained to a teacher in school about it.
That complaint was forwarded to the Norwegian Child Welfare Services during Ramadan in early May this year.
He said the children have been placed with three different families, all of them non-Muslim.
He said that as Muslims, his brother was only trying to get his children to pray, learn the Quran and fast during Ramadan.
"My brother had limited their social life and Internet access and maybe this could not be accepted by the child," he added.
He said there were no elements of physical beatings involved in this case as the police did not find any evidence such as a cane in their house.
"This is why my brother was not arrested and can work as usual. One of his children had claimed to be beaten," he added.
The father, who has been in Norway for more than 10 years, works as a specialist welder in the oil and gas industry.
In a statement, Wisma Putra (Malaysia's Foreign Ministry) confirmed the couple's case, and said the Malaysian embassy in Sweden would monitor it.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK