KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — The Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) was hurting free speech by pursuing two scholars for preaching without credentials, said former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Seri Mohd Hishamudin Yunus.
He said he and the G25 group were saddened by the treatment of Turkish journalist and writer Mustafa Akyol and Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) founder Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa.
“With the greatest respect to Jawi, I am at a loss to understand as to how a public discourse on Islam could be taken to be ‘teaching’ within section 11 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act.
“Such action by Jawi undermines our freedom of speech as guaranteed by Article 10 of the Federal Constitution and the Rule of Law as decreed by our Rukun Negara,” he said in a statement.
Last month, Akyol spoke at a roundtable discussion at the Royal Selangor Golf Club about apostasy and gave a public lecture at the Renaissance Hotel here about the relevance of democracy.
He was subsequently detained for preaching without credentials, an offence under the Federal Territories Shariah law, but released following questioning by Jawi.
Dr Ahmad was also summoned by the Shariah court for allegedly “abetting” Akyol who was accused of giving a religious talk without accreditation.
The Home Ministry also banned books by both men last month.