Standing behind academic freedom — Sisters in Islam

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http://hakam.org.my/wp/2017/12/20/standing-behind-academic-freedom-sisters-in-islam/
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Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY SISTERS IN ISLAM

DECEMBER 20 — Sisters in Islam stands in full support of the constitutional expert and renowned academic, Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi and demands the investigation against him under section 504 of the Penal Code be stopped immediately.

As an academic whose interest and expertise lies in Constitutional matters and Islamic policies, Professor Shad acted within his professional boundaries when he commented on religious radicalism in his recent article in The Star.

Section 504 of the Penal Code states that “any act that intentionally insults or intending to cause provocation that causes a break of public peace”, is liable to imprisonment for terms up to two years, fined or both. Hence, SIS strongly condemns this blatant abuse of power in an attempt to subdue freedom of expression.

Where do we draw the line in identifying individuals that disrupt public peace and those that promote peace, harmony and tolerance through academic discourse? Or does the provision only apply to certain institutions and individuals?

We should take cognisance of Imam Malik’s statement that ‘Diversity of opinion is Allah’s gift to the ummah’ and any imposition of one particular opinion would be tantamount to destroying this divine gift.

We urge an end to  this systematic demonising and shutting down of diverse voices that discuss matters of public interest that are related to Islam. As Malaysians who value democracy, the rule of law and values that promote harmony, tolerance and peace within society, we call upon academics, activists and the public to speak up and push back against the intimidation of academics and the suppression of academic freedom.