After interfaith tussles, Penang Mufti suggests Shariah law reforms

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Penang Mufti Datuk Dr Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor (left) shaking hands with Bishop Francis at the first interfaith meeting at the former's office in Komtar today. ― Courtesy pic

Penang Mufti Datuk Dr Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor (left) shaking hands with Bishop Francis at the first interfaith meeting at the former’s office in Komtar today. ― Courtesy pic

GEORGE TOWN, Feb 29 ― Parts of Shariah law need to be improved to resolve the interfaith custody battles that occur in Malaysia, said Penang Mufti Datuk Dr Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor.

He also said that Islam espouses justice and wisdom, which meant unjust outcomes were un-Islamic.

“When we cannot find solutions based on the Holy Book, we must come up with solutions based on public interest,” he told reporters after a historic interfaith meeting with Christian leaders at Komtar today.

Child custody battles between Muslim and non-Muslim parents was one of the issues discussed during a two-hour meeting between Wan Salim, Penang bishop Sebastian Francis and other leaders of both faiths at the mufti’s office today.

They also discussed issues such as unilateral conversions, the threat of the Islamic State (IS) and extremism.

The interfaith meeting is the first such event between the mufti and Christian leaders at the mufti’s office. Read more

How human rights lost out to power – Melanie O’Brien

Source: Policy Forum & New Mandala

BY MELANIE O’BRIEN

Asia-Pacific states, including Australia, are shunning human rights in favour of the power status quo

Torture, indefinite detention and imprisonment for critics are par for the course in the Asia-Pacific, even in countries that are signatories to international agreements on human rights, Melanie O’Brien writes.

While paying lip service to stopping human rights abuses, leaders in the Asia-Pacific are rejecting basic freedoms and reinforcing their own power, eroding human rights and flouting the very international agreements they are parties to.

China still practices torture although it has officially renounced it, and its human rights defenders still disappear into arbitrary detention. Thailand hands out decades-long sentences under the loose accusation of lèse majesté, or showing leaders disrespect. While appearing to soften sedition laws Malaysia has actually toughened them. Hundreds of asylum seekers fleeing drastic conditions are detained indefinitely in horrific conditions by Australia, the country to which they fled in hope, which claims to be one of the compassionate democracies of the world.

There is an increased lack of respect for human rights in the Asia-Pacific region, including in Australia, amid a growing trend for governments to reject the implementation of rights, even if a country is party to human rights instruments and is obligated to respect and protect those rights. Read more