Fairuz’s interpretation of Islamic law ‘weird’, says law expert

Source: FMT News

Abdul Aziz Bari says contentions with far-reaching implications, like the former CJ’s stand that Islamic law takes precedence over civil legislations, can only be made through amendments by Parliament. Pic from FMT News.

Abdul Aziz Bari says contentions with far-reaching implications, like the former CJ’s stand that Islamic law takes precedence over civil legislations, can only be made through amendments by Parliament. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: A law expert has joined in the chorus of critics that have dissected the controversial stand of former chief justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim that Islamic law takes precedence over civil legislations in Malaysia.

Abdul Aziz Bari said Fairuz’s way of interpreting the Federal Constitution was both weird and convoluted.

“I just wonder what types of approaches and rules he used in interpreting the Federal Constitution while on the bench,” he told FMT.

“Contentions that have far-reaching implications such as those made by Ahmad Fairuz must be made through constitutional amendments by Parliament,” he said.

He said it would not be enough even if it was made in the course of judgment in court by the judges.

“What more by a retired judge who chose to keep quiet on the matter when he was in office,” he said.

Aziz said this in response to a lecture by Fairuz, who was the chief justice between 2003 and 2007, titled “Islam as the Law of the Land”. In it, he had interpreted the constitution in a manner that made Islamic law the second most supreme legislation in Malaysia. Read more

Sexual orientation can be changed, Jakim says in new LGBT video

Source: Malay Mail Online

Jakim said to change one’s sexual orientation, one must intend to do so for God’s sake instead of being forced and repent one's homosexuality, in addition to leaving activities that would lead to same-sex relations. — AFP pic

Jakim said to change one’s sexual orientation, one must intend to do so for God’s sake instead of being forced and repent one’s homosexuality, in addition to leaving activities that would lead to same-sex relations. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — The federal Islamic authorities have suggested that sexual orientation can be changed with extensive training, in a recent video explaining how Muslims can approach the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

The 3:08-minute video in Malay language has since received mixed reception from some Malaysians, with several praising it as a softer strategy that does not promote hate against the maligned minority, while others felt it still fails to acknowledge the community.

“Fact is, there are those among Muslims that has non-heterosexual orientation but remains steadfast on the path of Islam.

“For them, this is a test of Allah, and they choose to face the test appropriate with what Islam demands,” said the video shared by social activist Syed Azmi Alhabshi in a public post on his Facebook profile yesterday. Read more

Islamic laws manipulated for political mileage, says Siti Kasim

Source: FMT News

Lawyer-cum-activist, Siti Kasim. Pic from FMT News.

Lawyer-cum-activist, Siti Kasim. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Islamic laws in Malaysia have been manipulated and used as a tool by politicians interested only in obtaining political mileage, says lawyer-cum-activist Siti Kasim.

Hence, the Malays in this country should stand up and question the implementation of these laws instead of taking them lying down, she added.

“These man-made laws will affect the Malays first, and then the rest (those of other races).

“We the Malays must question these laws instead of simply accepting them as God’s law.

“Learn about Islam from those who are genuine, not from those with ulterior motives,” she told FMT. Read more

Malaysia’s Dangerous Path — Daniel Wagner

Source: The Huffington Post

BY DANIEL WAGNER

Muslims from around the world have long chosen Malaysia as a holiday destination, being widely viewed as a moderate Muslim country, where people of diverse ethnicity and religion live in harmony. Muslims account for approximately 60 percent of the population (most of them being ethnic Malay), with Chinese and Indian minorities accounting for most of the rest, practicing Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism as they please. That is part of what makes Malaysia unique. Its tranquility is now under threat, however, a combination of simmering ethnic tension and government action that is taking the country down a dangerous path.

For decades, Malaysia’s main opposition party – the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) – has promoted the adoption of Islamic law, and for decades the government has objected to such law, until now. Prime Minister Najib Razak has for many months been embroiled in a corruption scandal, in which he has admitted accepting nearly $700 million as a “donation” to him. Moreover, his government is in trouble, as urban voters are increasingly rejecting the ruling United Malay National Organization (UMNO) and it policies. Many Malaysians have had enough of Mr. Najib, UMNO, and the current government.

Mr. Najib and UMNO have therefore decided to court rural Malays, who tend to be more conservative and who support PAS in greater numbers than their urban counterparts. In May of this year, UMNO fast-tracked the reading of a bill drafted by PAS which sought to increase the punishment courts may impose on those Muslims convicted of religious offenses through existing Islamic courts. Opening that Pandora’s Box has naturally created an uproar among moderate Muslims in the country.

Islamic law is already enforced in some capacity in the more conservative parts of the country, where, for example, religious authorities already check patrons’ religion in hotels and bars. The authorities may already jail those who do not practice official interpretations of the law. Some PAS members want Muslims convicted of drinking alcohol to receive up to 80 lashes of the rattan cane, and for adulterers to receive up to 100 lashes of the cane, in ominous echoes of the punishment already dispensed in countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia. Is the next step amputations for stealing and hangings for being gay? Moderate Muslims know that such a pivot toward the imposition of Islamic law usually only leads in one direction: more of the same.

Read more

Beyond the severity of hudud punishments — Dr Shahrul Mizan Ismail

Source: NST Online

BY DR SHAHRUL MIZAN ISMAIL

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

Malaysian man charged with rape escapes jail after marrying 14-year-old victim

Source: Thompson Reuters Foundation

children-rape-reuters

A girl wearing a hijab waits at the Shah Alam stadium during celebrations of Maulidur Rasul, or the birth of Prophet Muhammad, outside Kuala Lumpur, January 14, 2014. REUTERS/Samsul Said

JAKARTA, Aug 3 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A Malaysian man charged with raping a 14-year-old girl has avoided prison after he married her in a case that has sparked anger from rights groups and calls for a ban on child marriage and justice for victims of sexual violence.

Ahmad Syukri Yusuf, 22, was charged with statutory rape of the girl late last year and faced up to 30 years in jail and whipping for the offence, but he later married the teenager under Islamic law, according to prosecutor Ahmad Fariz Abdul Hamid.

The prosecutor said a court in Kuching, in Malaysia’s eastern state of Sarawak ruled there was no need to proceed with the case after Ahmad Syukri submitted a marriage certificate and the girl withdrew the complaint.

Delivered last week, the court ruling prompted fury from women’s rights groups.

“It is very common for rapists to marry their survivors, especially when they are underage, to cover up their crime,” Kuala Lumpur-based Women’s Aid Organisation spokeswoman Tan Heang Lee told Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“There is usually a high risk in this kind of cases that these girls will be subject to a lifetime of sexual abuse. Her marriage is basically an extension to rape,” she added. Read more

Move to blend shariah, common law a political ploy, says lawyer

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Moderator Datuk Noor Faridah Ariffin (second left) seen with panellists Nizam Bashir (left), Aston Paiva (second right) and Lim Heng Seng (right) during the forum “Maqasid Syariah in a Constitutional Democracy” in Bayan Baru,Penang, today. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain,October 31, 2015.

The move to harmonise shariah and common laws in the country is just a ploy to dupe the people into believing that those with no religious credentials represent Islam, a constitutional and human rights lawyer said.

Harmonising the two sets of laws would involve amending the constitution, said Aston Paiva.

“Brandishing it as if you represent Islam is going to dupe people into thinking that you have some credentials when you have none.

“When you have a failing government accused of corruption, the only thing you can do is to seem holier than thou,” he said at the forum, “Maqasid Shariah in a Constitutional Democracy”, in Penang organised by G25 and think tank Penang Institute today. Read more

Ruling on transgender may be overturned on technicality

Source: The Star Online

PUTRAJAYA: The ruling which declared criminalising cross-dressing as unconstitutional may be overturned on a technicality, with the Negri Sembilan government arguing it was filed prematurely.

Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who acted for the state government, submitted that the suit by three transgenders had been filed in response to them being charged by the Syariah Court.

“There is no decision yet that is amendable to judicial review, you can’t scuttle a criminal proceeding that is just about to begin,” he told the Federal Court.

The trio had filed a judicial review at the Seremban High Court to obtain a declaration that Section 66 of the Syariah Criminal (Negri Sembilan) Enactment 1992 was invalid as it was not in line with fundamental freedom. Read more

Court reserves judgment on non-Muslims as Syariah lawyers

Source: The Star Online

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has reserved its judgment over whether a non-Muslim is allowed to practise as a Syariah lawyer.

Court of Appeal president Justice Md Raus Sharif, who chaired a five-man panel, said the court would deliver its judgment on a later date.

The Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) and the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) contended that only Muslims could practise Syariah law as Syariah courts had no jurisdiction over non-Muslims should they display any professional misconduct during proceedings. Read more

Transgenders’ bid to challenge cross-dressing law improper and premature, apex court told

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Supporters of a group of transgenders challenging the Shariah law that forbids cross-dressing among Muslims are pictured at the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya, August 13, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Supporters of a group of transgenders challenging the Shariah law that forbids cross-dressing among Muslims are pictured at the Palace of Justice, Putrajaya, August 13, 2015. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 13 — The Negri Sembilan government told the Federal Court today that the group of transgenders challenging the Shariah law that forbids cross-dressing among Muslims had used improper channels to file their bid.

In its bid to overturn an appellate court’s landmark ruling on the matter, the state government, represented by prominent lawyer Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah, also said the challenge had been premature as the group had only been charged with the offence in the Shariah Court and no decision had been delivered yet.

The lawyer argued that the Court of Appeal, and the Seremban High Court before it, had erred when it entertained the transgenders’ application for judicial review as the Federal Constitution does not state they have the jurisdiction to do so.

The Court of Appeal had in November 7 last year ruled that Section 66 of the Negri Sembilan Shariah Criminal Enactment 1992 prohibiting cross-dressing by Muslims was unconstitutional and void. Read more