NGOs call for a ‘safe space’ for sexual abuse victims to be heard

Source: The Star

PETALING JAYA: Women’s rights organisations in Malaysia are calling for a “safe space” where women can speak up on sexual violence and harassment.

“In a world of changing cultural values of modern society, women’s rights along with other human rights groups have an important responsibility to stand up in solidarity to create safe spaces for victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment,” said the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) in a statement on Tuesday (Feb 6).

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Nur Sajat deserves respect and dignity ‘just like any other’ human, SIS tells Jakim

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Nur Sajat (far right) posted on her Instagram account a picture of her meeting with an unidentified man wearing a skullcap whom she listed only as a Jakim officer.

PETALING JAYA, Jan 23 — Non-governmental Islamic group Sisters in Islam (SIS) wants Malaysia’s federal Islamic authority to stop its probe into Nur Sajat Kamaruzzaman’s gender.

The group said the lengthy verification process by the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) on the popular entrepreneur is a “gross violation to the rights of an individual and disparages a person’s dignity as a human being”.

“Nur Sajat deserves to be regarded and treated with respect and dignity as a fellow Malaysian, just like any other,” SIS said in a statement today.

It questioned the need for a Shariah research panel to take at least one month to look into Nur Sajat’s gender identity and expressed concern that the probe may cause mental, emotional and even physical harm to the latter.

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Standing behind academic freedom — Sisters in Islam

Source: The Malay Mail Online


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. Read more

Birth registration law applies to all regardless of faith, lawyer says amid ‘bin Abdullah’ debate

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — The Births and Deaths Registration Act 1957 (BDRA) that allows an illegitimate child to bear the father’s name applies to all Malaysian citizens including Muslims, a lawyer Ahmad Munawir Abdul Aziz said today.

Ahmad Munawir, who practises both civil and Shariah law, pointed out that other legislations, like the Adoption Act 1952 and the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976, specifically state that they do not apply to Muslims.

“The Births and Deaths Registration Act doesn’t state, which means it applies to Muslims; it applies to all Malaysian citizens,” Ahmad Munawir told a forum organised by Muslim women’s group Sisters in Islam here titled “Illegitimate children: Bin Abdullah — Between stigma, rights and religion”. Read more

SIS: Dropping unilateral conversion ban a failure to serve justice

Source: The Malay Mail Online 

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 — Sisters in Islam (SIS) today expressed its disappointment over Putrajaya’s decision to abort Section 88A, designed to ban unilateral conversion of children to Islam, from the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) (Amendment) Bill.

SIS also pointed out that unilateral conversion cases often inflict extensive emotional sufferings onto parents like Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi, and this proves a critical need for amendments to the said Bill to prevent similar cases from recurring.

“SIS would like to reiterate that the current law has failed to serve justice or provide substantive legal recourse for the non-converting spouse which subsequently will cause more pain and harm towards them.

“With the long-drawn court processes in having to address jurisdictional issues, more often than not, prolongs the uncertainty and denies justice to be immediately upheld for the families concerned,” the women’s group told Malay Mail Online in a statement.

Indira, a pre-school teacher, made national headlines following her years of court battle, after her ex-husband, a Muslim convert, also converted their three children.

The group also criticised Putrajaya for having “lack of commitment” despite promising to address the matter in 2016. Read more

Art Harun: Who’s the danger to society?

Source: FMT News 

Azhar Harun (Art Harun)
Pic drawn from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: A lawyer and activist today criticised those who label individuals or groups as “liberals” or “secularists” for advocating a way of life which is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.

Azhar Harun, better known as Art Harun, said the concept of liberalism was well embraced in all other parts of the civilised world, where the struggle for equality, emancipation, freedom, liberty and universal human rights is seen as the duty of every peace-loving citizen.

In Malaysia, however, those who uphold such concepts are ridiculed, threatened and seen as a danger to society, he said. Read more

A wife’s body is her own’

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Social activist Marina Mahathir has denounced Setiu MP Che Mohamad Zulkifly Jusoh for condemning women who repel sexual advances from their husbands.

“A man does not own a woman’s body when he marries her any more than she owns his,” she said in a comment on a recent speech Zulkifly made in the Dewan Rakyat.

During a debate on domestic violence on Tuesday, Zulkifly said women who denied their husbands sex were subjecting them to psychological and emotional abuse.

Speaking to FMT, Marina said the MP was proving that marital rape was a problem in Malaysia. Read more

Sisters in Islam hails judgment against NRD as Islamic

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Vocal Muslim women’s rights group Sisters in Islam (SIS) today hailed the Court of Appeal’s judgment against the National Registration Department (NRD) in allowing a child born out of wedlock to take up the father’s name, saying it was a just decision conforming to the Quranic spirit.

SIS quoted a verse from the Quran, “Call them by (the names of) their fathers: that is more just in the eyes of God” (33:5), adding that the judgment by Justice Abdul Rahman Sebli and two other members of the bench was fulfilling one of the shariah’s goals, the protection of life.

“While this (verse) is understood to refer to adopted children, it is not impossible to extend the spirit of the verse to recognise the biological fathers of children conceived or born out of wedlock,” the group said in a statement. Read more

Should the Domestic Violence Act protect cohabiting couples?

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 ― Two civil society groups said the latest amendments to the Domestic Violence Act 1994 should have covered cohabiting couples who suffer abuse at their lovers’ hands.

Sisters In Islam (SIS) and Women Aid Organisation (WAO) said relying on the Penal Code for cases as such was insufficient as it did not provide protection like the Act does.

“The law should be able to give a blanket protection to all domestic violence survivors and acknowledge that dynamics between married spouses are similar regardless of their marital status,” SIS told Malay Mail Online when contacted yesterday. Read more