Children of couple held by Swedish authorities handed over to M'sian embassy

31 Jan 2014 / 14:31 H.

    STOCKHOLM (Jan 31, 2014): All the four children of a Malaysian couple who have been placed under the care of a Swedish non-Muslim foster family because their parents are being held under remand in Sweden for alleged abuse of one of the children, were handed over to the Malaysian embassy here at 4pm local time ( 11pm Malaysian time) yesterday by the Swedish authorities.
    All the children were in good health. They were brought from a school to the Malaysian embassy where they were able to meet their relatives. The children who asked to be called Aishah, Ammar, Adam and Arif , aged 14, 12,11 and seven respectively, initially appeared sombre but were a picture of happiness and laughter on meeting their relatives. Aishah said: "I am very happy and deeply touched. I did not expect to be able to meet my relatives. Thanks to all of you."
    The Malaysian embassy is taking custody of the children before they are placed under the care of a Malaysian Muslim family residing here.
    Their parents, Azizul Raheem Awalludin and Shalwati Norshal have agreed to have their four children transferred to the care of a Muslim family which the Malaysian embassy here had helped to find.
    Azizul, a Tourism Malaysia director in Stockholm, and his wife, school teacher Shalwati Nurshal who is on unpaid leave, have reportedly been det­ained since Dec 18 after Shalwati allegedly smacked their 12-year-old son on the arm for refusing to perform his prayers.
    Aishah, who spoke on behalf of her siblings, also conveyed their appreciation for the unflinching support from Malaysians for them since they were separated from their parents last Dec 18.
    The Malaysian media team witnessing the occasion found them exchanging pleasantries with the relatives while tucking into "nasi lemak" prepared by the embassy.
    Also witnessing the development were Malaysia's Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin; ambassador to Sweden, Datuk Badruddin Ab Rahman; Umno Youth Complaints bureau head Sheikh Nafiq Alfirdaous and his deputy Datuk Khairul Anwar, who is also the chairman of SukuGuam (a non-governmental organisation).
    At a press conference afterwards, Hamzah said the Malaysian government, the Foreign Ministry and the embassy here wished to expressed their thanks to his counterpart State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ministry for Foreign Affairs Frank Belfrage, the Swedish Social Services and all who made the effort (to have the children cared for by a Muslim family) a success.
    "They understand and are aware that these children should be under the care of a family that understands our culture because it is different from Swedish culture.
    "This is the first time such a thing has happened to our citizens. We needed to strategise and this is the result," he said.
    Meanwhile, Sheikh Nafiq said the bureau managed to hand over various items, gifts and toys collected by several quarters for the children.
    "Our mision here was to assist in getting information on the case involving the children and the result today is due to the cooperation of all parties.
    "For us, the bureau will try to find solutions for Malaysians facing predicaments and act as a bridge to government agencies and non-governmental organisations," he said. – Bernama

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