Beyond the severity of hudud punishments — Dr Shahrul Mizan Ismail

Source: NST Online


THE polemic in relation to the implementation of hudud and how it clashes with several aspects of human rights is not a new quandary. In fact, it very much goes back to the bigger debate between Islam and international human rights law, and the ever irresolvable dilemma of drawing an effective reconciliation between the theocentric essentials of Islamic law and the demands of international human rights law.

This problem is further exacerbated in the case of hudud punishments, since syariah is so explicitly clear as to its crimes and punishments, lessening any manoeuvring space between the two.

But arguing merely on this basis, focusing only on the severity of hudud punishments and how barbaric they are as a justification for them to be denunciated altogether is, in itself, counterproductive. The act of lashing 100 times or stoning till death a human being will, of course, be inconsistent with modern penological principles and contemporary norms of international human rights law.

Nevertheless, demanding Muslims categorically forsake them on these grounds is ineffective since it insensitively neglects a number of decisive realities of Islam and Muslims in general. To pragmatically resolve the issue, one must go back to listening, constructively comparing, and sincerely appreciating the vast divergences between Islamic law and human rights law. Read more

Adequate housing dilemma in Malaysia: A human rights perspective — Dr Shahrul Mizan Ismail

Source: The Malay Mail Online


SEPTEMBER 18 — The recent proposal by the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister to allow housing developers to give loans to potential house buyers has caused quite a stir among the netizens in social media. Not only has it invited comments and criticisms, but also quite a number of new ideas and alternative proposals to resolve the issue. Not many would know however, that the right to adequate housing is actually a recognised universal human rights, classified as the second generation of human rights, which was first embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948.


Article 25 (1) states: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services…” The Declaration is not a binding treaty but was signed by all member states of the United Nations. Read more