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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Caning Women - Islam or Politics*

Many have asked as to why I wrote, ‘Isu Sebatan – Islam atau Politik’ in Bahasa Malaysia [“BM”] rather than English. There are 2 reasons for this. Firstly, there are many other more capable writers who can express the same issues (and who have done so) in English. Secondly (and more importantly), writing in English feels like preaching to the converted. My main intention was to provide some fodder for thought to the BM only readers out there. The same target audience that is being constantly fed with misinformation by the mainstream BM media. The audience that forms the bulk of the voter bank in Malaysia and who have the power to shape the country whether the rest of us like it or not. Unfortunately for those who prefer BM (either by choice or not), the alternative media does not provide as many write ups or coverage to balance off the onslaught of misinformation by the mainstream media. Hence the reason the article was written in BM.

I have also received a few ‘critical’ observations on the article. The main criticism is that I am looking at Syariah in the perspective of a western trained civil lawyer and as such I may not understand the intricacies of the laws. I disagree with that observation. I have dealt with the sections in the relevant Acts as it is drafted. I am not looking as to whether it is right or wrong or taking into account the Quran or Sunnah. I also believe that the accepted principles of natural justice are compatible with Islam. General maxims of natural justice like, ‘audi alteram partem’ (the right to be heard), ‘nemo judex causa sua’ (nobody shall be a judge in their own cause) and the concept of justice must be seen to be done are universal principles. The article I wrote merely highlight the circumstances surrounding the revelation by the Home Minister and the apparent flaws pertaining to the sentencing in light of the very same enactments used.

There is also the issue of the manner in which the enactments have been drafted. See section 23 subsection (3) and (4) on the presumptions that can be made without there being express fail safe mechanism to prevent the risk of injustice. It is scary to say the least.

The translation comes with slight changes to suit the language. Please take note that I have used the word ‘caning’ and ‘whipping’ interchangeably. The media have used ‘caning’ whilst the English version of the Act in question uses the word ‘whipping’. Here goes…..

The revelation by the Home Minister on the caning carried out on 3 women for the offence of sexual intercourse out of wedlock pursuant to section 23 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997 [“Act”] has resulted in the creation of another ‘controversial’ issue for the Malaysian public. This is unfortunately just one of the many ‘controversial’ issues which have cropped up in recent times with all sharing a common recurring theme; it will be politicized to the hilt by the powers-that-be.

This new issue relating to the 3 women is no different. There have been many questions which have not been answered, among others,

a. Why did the Home Minister disclose the caning to the general public after it had been carried out when it is general knowledge that this issue has caused uneasiness when Kartika was sentenced to be caned.

b. Why the Syariah Court is so determined to use the Act to cane these women when the same Act has a section on Liwat (sodomy) which was not used on Anwar Ibrahim?

c. Does the Syariah Court have the power to impose such a punishment when the Penal Code expressly provides that women cannot be subject to caning (no matter how it is carried out)?

d. Did the Syariah Court impose the caning sentence purposely to demonstrate that it does have the ‘power’ to do so and as such at par with the Civil Courts despite the fact that the general consensus is that the Syariah Courts are a subsidiary branch of the judiciary under the Constitution?

e. Was the caning done on purpose to show that the government is more ‘Islamic’ than PAS and at the same time to bait the opposition to criticise the punishment so as to make it easier to label them ‘anti-Islam’ as how it was done for the ‘Allah’ issue and the Prophet’s birthday march?

For me, based on the conduct by the religious authorities under the control of the central government recently, it is very difficult to accept that the caning of the 3 women was done based on Islam (in the true and honest sense) and not merely another ‘move’ in the political chess game by utilising the Islamic institutions. If it was based solely on Islam in the true sense, I am sure that the Syarie Lawyers Association or the Council of Muftis would have not kept silent when Anwar Ibrahim was charged in the Criminal Courts when there is a clear and express provision relating to the exact offence in the Act.

To further support the theory that the caning was merely a political manoeuvre utilising Islam, lets look at the offence committed by the 3 women. From the media coverage, the facts as we know it are as follows:

a. The 3 women were caned when they were found guilty under section 23(2) of the Act;

b. The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said that, “They showed remorse as they felt that the punishment released them from sin and the feeling of guilt towards Allah S.W.T.,”

http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/info.aspy=2010&dt=0218&pub=Utusan_Malaysia&sec=Terkini&pg=bt_24.htm

c. One of the women is 17 and was pregnant when she was still in school;

d. A second woman said she had to support her family after her father left home and had a three-year-old daughter out of wedlock.

e. They turned themselves in due to feelings of guilt. They were not arrested;

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/53647-malaysian-women-say- caning-good-for-them

f. The punishment was carried out at Kajang Prison at 10 am on 9 February. 2 of them were caned 6 times whilst the other received 4 strokes. One of them was released last Saturday after serving one month prison sentence. Another will be released in a few days and the third will be released in June.

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/bahasa/53454-seks-haram-3-wanita-islam-pertama-jalani-sebatan

g. The Home Minister was quoted to have said that based on his meeting with the 3 women, he found that they have repented and they accept the punishment meted out although the caning did not cause any injuries. He hopes that the punishment would not be misconstrued to the extent that it smears the sanctity of Islam. The punishment is to educate and make them realise that even though they have strayed, they still can come back to the straight path and build a better life for themselves.

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/bahasa/53454-seks-haram-3-wanita-islam-pertama-jalani-sebatan

Fair Punishment?

The question that needs to be asked is whether based on the facts as we know it, the imposition of the caning commensurate the crime that was committed. Based on the section in the Act, it is difficult to see how the Judge could have imposed such a hefty sentence for first time offenders. They were caned and imprisoned.

Section 23 of the Act provides,

23.  Sexual intercourse out of wedlock.

(1) Any man who performs sexual intercourse with a woman who is not his lawful wife shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to whipping not exceeding six strokes or to any combination thereof.

(2) Any woman who performs sexual intercourse with a man who is not her lawful husband shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to whipping not exceeding six strokes or to any combination thereof.

(3) The fact that a woman is pregnant out of wedlock as a result of sexual intercourse performed with her consent shall be prima facie evidence of the commission of an offence under subsection (2) by that woman.

(4) For the purpose of subsection (3), any woman who gives birth to a fully developed child within a period of six qamariah months from the date of her marriage shall be deemed to have been pregnant out of wedlock.

Based on subsection (2) above, if found guilty, the office is punishable by a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to whipping not exceeding six strokes or to any combination thereof . The operative word there is ‘OR’. This means that the Judge can use his discretion based on the surrounding circumstances of the facts to choose the punishment to be imposed. Here, he chose to whip AND imprison.

Whipping is also the heaviest punishment under the syariah enactments of Wilayah Persekutuan. This can be seen in Section 133 of the Syariah Criminal Procedure (Federal Territories) Act 1997 [“Procedure Act”] which states,

133.  Power to commute punishment.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Mufti may. without the consent of the person sentenced, commute any one of the following sentences for any other mentioned after it, namely-

(a) whipping;

(b) imprisonment;

(c) fine.

Based on this section, in terms of ranking, the heaviest penalty would be whipping followed by imprisonment and the lightest being a fine. Here, there 3 women were sentenced with the heaviest punishment ie whipping. Perhaps the Judge can justify the same since one of the women has a child and is supporting her family and as such imprisonment may not be appropriate. However, all 3 women were also sentenced to imprisonment as well! They surrendered voluntarily and they were all repentant. Yet they are punished with the heaviest form of punishment? Is this the compassion in Islam?

Furthermore, every organisation and writer who is in support of the imposition of the caning take the line that whipping in Islam is to educate rather than injure or punish. If that was true, then why does the Procedure Act expressly provide that whipping is the most severe and heaviest penalty? If it was to educate, would it not be more appropriate for them to be subject to community service or be imposed a good behaviour bond (which is also provided for under section 129 of the Procedure Act) since they were first time offenders?

Another issue on the caning, according to one woman, it was fast and not painful. If it was fast and not painful and only to ‘educate’, then why cane when you take into account all the controversies surrounding the issue, in both the legal and social sense? All these factors seem to point to one direction, i.e. that it is a political manoeuvre and not an Islamic issue. It is a power issue for the government of the day to show its ‘physical’ Islamic credentials and also for the Syariah Courts to quietly and using backdoor means to raise its status to a level higher than what is provided for in the Federal Constitution.

Mitigation?

In the Procedure Act, there are a number of sections which allow the Court to use discretion to reduce the sentence meted out by taking into account personal factors of the accused. It allows the Court to mitigate the sentence impose on the accused.

Its useful to repeat that, from the media reports, the 3 women were not repeat offenders, they surrendered voluntarily and were not arrested and they have repented. Section 129 of the Procedure Act states,

129.  First offenders.

(1) When any person not being a youthful offender has been convicted of any offence punishable with imprisonment before any Court, if it appears to such Court that regard being had to the character, antecedents, age, health or mental condition of the offender or to the trivial nature of the offence or to any extenuating circumstances under which the offence was committed it is expedient that the offender be released on probation of good conduct, the Court may, instead of sentencing him at once to any punishment, direct that he be released on his entering into a bond with sureties and during such period as the Court may direct to appear and receive judgment if and when called upon and in the meantime be of good behaviour.

For the 17 year old woman, section 128 of the Procedure Act provides,

128.  Youthful offenders.

(1) When any youthful offender is convicted before any Court of any offence punishable by fine or imprisonment, such Court shall instead of awarding any term of imprisonment in default of payment of the fine or passing a sentence of imprisonment-

(a) order such offender to be discharged after due admonition if the Court shall think fit; or

(b) order such offender to be delivered to his parent or to his guardian or nearest adult relative or to such other person, as the Court shall designate, on such parent, guardian, relative or other person executing a bond with a surety, as the Court may require, that he will be responsible for the good behaviour of the offender for any period not exceeding twelve months or. without requiring any person to enter into any bond, make an order in respect of such offender ordering him to be of good behaviour for any period not exceeding two years and containing any directions to such offender in the nature of the condition referred to in paragraphs 130(a), (b) and (c) which the Court shall think fit to give”.

It is clear from the Procedure Act that there are sections which empower the Judge to reduce the sentence meted out. The question is that why impose such a heavy penalty? The sections above also demonstrates that the argument that the caning is to be considered as an ‘education’ rather than punishment also does not hold water especially in view of the fact that whipping is considered as a punishment heavier than imprisonment. Here, the 3 women were sentenced to caning AND imprisonment!

The manner in which the punishment was carried out and the eventual disclosure to the Malaysian public raises suspicion. There are many unanswered questions with no answers. Are these 3 women collateral damage in order for certain organisations to flex its muscles or for the government to demonstrate its physical ‘Islamic’ credentials? Why do we not hear of heavy punishment being meted out to errant husbands who desert their wives or fail to pay maintenance? The imbalance in handing out sentences for offences under the Syariah enactments does not help to counter the negative perception toward the Syariah institutions in Malaysia.

However, unfortunately, they also do not like to be criticized. Every criticism or question posed is usually met with ‘labelling’, the usual would be, ‘anti-Islam’, ‘liberal Islam’ and many others. The other common retort would be that the critic does not understand the intricacies of Islam and the worse would be that the critic is questioning God’s law which is the syariah (despite the fact that the enactments were drafted by draftsmen based on their interpretation of Islamic laws).

It is frustrating that whilst they argue that those who oppose such punishment do not understand Islam, they do not take the steps to respond in an intellectual manner based on factual arguments. Until now, despite the screams and cries from various women organizations on the manner in which the Syariah Courts treats women, we have no real cogent and clear response to the same by organizations like JAKIM or the Syarie Lawyers Association. For example, lets look at the some sections from the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984 [“Family Act”],

126.  Desertion of wife.

Any person who, having been ordered by the Court to resume cohabitation with his wife, wilfully fails or neglects to comply with the order commits an offence and shall be punished with a fine not exceeding one thousand ringgit or with imprisonment not exceeding six months or with both such fine and imprisonment.

127.  Ill-treatment of wife.

Any person who ill-treats his wife or cheats his wife of her property commits an offence and shall be punished with a fine not exceeding one thousand ringgit or with imprisonment not exceeding six months or with both such fine and imprisonment.

128.  Failure to give proper justice to wife.

Any person who fails to give proper justice to his wife according to Hukum Syara' commits an offence and shall be punished with a fine not exceeding one thousand ringgit or with imprisonment not exceeding six months or with both such fine and imprisonment.

The sections above deal with mistreatment by the husband on the wife. It involves a wrong committed on third parties i.e. the wife and also the children from the marriage which may lead to negative social issues. However, such offences carry penalties which are far less harsh than personal moral crimes such as sex outside wedlock. Is this fairness? Is it not justified for women organisations to criticise the state of affairs when it seems biased in favour of the man? Perhaps, rather than embarking on sensationalist punishments, it would be better for the Islamic justice organisations to study the various other enactments to find ways to be more ‘fair’ and ‘just’?

What seems to be more and more apparent when the issue is analysed in greater depth is that it has again been carried out as a manoeuvre in the political chess game. It has nothing to do with the education of the ummah or to stem social ills. The 3 women are mere pawns in the game for political power in this country. The saddest part is that Islam has again been abused in the race for power and votes.

* This is a translated version of an earlier post in Bahasa Malaysia entitled "Isu Sebatan Wanita - Oslam atau Politik?" by Shaikh Saleem. This translated version is done by Shaikh himself.

21 comments:

donplaypuks® said...

This is clearly a ploy by Kerismudin, PM Najib and UMNO to dare PAS and Pakatan Muslims to oppose them in their endeavour to be more Muslim than them and the international diaspora.

They hope against hope this will translate as a return of lost sheep and votes to the fast sinking UMNO/BN ship. Mind you MCA and MIC will not go where angels fear to tread, but are being reluctantly dragged into unholy ground!!

In so doing, Najib and UMNO have revealed the cockamanie their 1 M'sia is.

It is clear they have nothing else left to play with but the racist and religious bigotry cards.

It is really up to all right thinking Muslims to stand publicly and vociferously firm against this atavistic throwback.


dpp
We are all of 1 race, the HUman Race

Fahri said...

You have made explicit all the implicit undercurrents to the whole whipping charade with your usual insight, nuance and eloquence. The only thing I can do is agree. I just wonder when will the Malay community realize that they are being taken for a ride by their leaders on this Islamic engagement. This raises the question of whether they too understand Islam and have confidence in their understanding of Islam as they know it to be.

Antares said...

Excellent work, Art. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Excellent piece. Agree that you should do it more often in BM. For those who prefer English can get it translated easily using the TRANSLATE button on the browser. The majority in Msia mostly read BM. Most English readers are infact those who have migrated.

Leithaisor said...

Saudara Art,

Perhaps this rough translation of Shaikh Saleem's piece, which a young student helped me to draft, may be of some use to you. There are likely a whole lot of mistakes and inaccuracies, esepcially the tear-my-hair-out paragraph about young offenders marked with * * * * *.
__________________________________________

Caning of women issue - Islam or Politics?

The revelation from the Home Minister regarding the carrying out of the caning sentences on 3 women for their offences of illicit sexual intercourse under Section 23 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Act (Federal Territories) 1997 ["Act"] has given rise to various controversies among the Malaysian public. It is one of a range of controversies which has arisen of late which all have a reccuring theme, that they can be politicised to the maximum.

The latest issue of the three women is no different. Various questions arise inclduing,

a. Why the Home Minister only revealed the sentences after they had been carried out when it is common knwoledge that there are reservations about the issue from the start when Kartika was sentenced to caning.

b. Why was the Syariah Court so intent on using the Act on the women when the same Act, which had provisions for the offence of sodomy, was not used against Anwar Ibrahim?

c. Did the Syariah Court have to power to imposed the sentence when the Penal Code clearly states that women cannot be caned (regardless of how it is carried out)?

d. Were the caning sentences purposely imposed to show that the Syariah Court had 'power' and was as such 'on par' with the Civil Court even though the general consensus was that the Syariah Court was a subsidiary branch in the federal Constitution?

e. Were the caning sentences purposely imposed to be 'more Islamic' than PAS and to lure the opposition party into criticising the caning sentences in order for it to be labelled 'anti-Islam', as had been done over the 'Allah' issue and Maulidul Rasul procession?


[part 2 of 8 follows]

_______________________________

Leithaisor said...

To me, based on the recent actions of the religious authorities under the Federal government, it is difficult to conclude that the sentences imposed on the three women are on clear and sincere Islamic basis and not political chess making use of the institution of Islam. If it had been on clear and sincere Islamic basis, I am sure that the Syarie Lawyers Association and the Mufti Council will not be silent when Anwar Ibrahim was charged in the Civil Criminal Court when there were the same provisions under the Syariah Crimes Act.

For further support of the theory that the caning was political chess using Islam, let us see the offences the 3 women committed. From Press coverage we can summarise as follows:

a. 3 females had been sentenced to caning and jail on being found guilty under Section 23(2) of the Act,

b. Minister in the Prime Minsiter's Department (PMD), Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom had stated that, "They had expressed their repentence because they felt the matter had released them from their sins and feelings of guilt towards Allah S.W.T.,"
http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/info.aspy=2010&dt=0218&pub=Utusan_Malaysia&sec=Terkini&pg=bt_24.htm

c. One of the women was 17 years old and had beome pregnant while still in school;

d. another of the women was supporting her father and had 3 illegitimate children;

e. they had surrendered themselves to the authorities because they felt guilty and had not been arrested.
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/53647-malaysian-women-say- caning-good-for-them

f. The sentences were carried out in the Kajang Prison at 10am last February 9. Two of the women had been caned 6 times while the third received four strokes. One of them had been freed last Saturday after finishing her one month's jail sentence. Another will be freed in a few days' time and the last woman, in June.


[part 3 of 8 follows]

_______________________________

Leithaisor said...

g. The Home Minister was quoted as saying that based on interviews with the three offenders, he found that they had realised, reformed and repented with the sentences they received even though the caning did not cause any wounds. "It is hoped that the issue is not misunderstood till the sanctity of Islam is polluted. The sentences were to educate and bring about realisation so that those who have strayed can return to the start of the path and build new and better lives," he said.
http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/bahasa/53454-seks-haram-3-wanita-islam-pertama-jalani-sebatan

Fair Sentences?

Another question which I would like to rbing up is whether the caning sentences represented sentences which were commensurate with the offences committed. Based on the Act itself, it is very difficult to see how the Judge could impose such sentences on the first-time offenders. They had been sentenced to jail and caning.

Section 23 of the Act which had been used against the 3 women provided that,

"(1) Whichever male person who has sexual intercourse with a female person who is not his legal wife has committed an offence and when charged may be fined not more than five thousand ringgit or jailed for a period not exceeding three years or caned not more than six strokes or sentenced with a combination of the sentences.

(2) Whichever female person who has sexual intercourse with a male person who is not her legal husband has committed an offence and when charged may be fined not more than five thousand ringgit or jailed for a period not exceeding three years or caned not more than six strokes or sentenced with a combination of the sentences.

(3) The fact that a female person is pregnant out of wedlock as a result of sexual intercourse carried out of her free will is prima facie testimony that an offence has been committed under subsection (2) by the female person.

(4) For the meaning of subsection (3), whichever female person who gives birth to a baby which is wholly formed within a period less than six lunar months from her wedding date shall be described as being pregnant out of wedlock".

Based on subsection (2) above, if charged with the offence, the sentence which can be imposed is a fine of not more than five thousand ringgit or jailed for a period not exceeding three years or caned not more than six strokes or sentenced with a combination of the sentences. The operative word there is "OR" in which case, the Judge can use his wisdom based on the facts of the case to select the sentence which should be meted out. In the case of the 3 women, the Judge had imposed the sentence of caning AND jail.

[part 4 of 8 follows]

_______________________________

Leithaisor said...

The sentence of caning represents a most heavy sentence under the Federal Territories Syariah legal system. This can be seen in section 133 of the Syariah Criminal Procedure Act (Federal Territories) 1997 ["Procedure Act"] which states,

"Power to reduce sentence.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Mufti can, without agreement of the person sentenced, reduce whatever one of the following sentences by substituting if with whichever of the sentences stated after it, that is -

(a) caning;
(b) jailing;
(c) fine".

Based on this section, from the angle of 'ranking' of the sentences imposed, the heaviest sentence which can be meted out is caning, followed by jailing and the lightest, fine. Here, all three women had been given the heaviest sentence, that is caning. Perhaps that can be justified in view of one of the women having 3 children and supporting her father, and as such, should be caned as it would not be fair if she was jailed. But all 3 women were sentenced with jailing as well! They had surrendered themselves, admitted their guilt and repented. but were given the maximum sentence? Is this 'compassion' in Islam?

Furthermore, every organisation and writer which supported the caning sentence used the point that this caning in Islam is to educate and not to torture. If that is true, why is it that under the Procedure Act, the sentence of caning is considered the heaviest sentence? If it was to educate, is it not more suitable for them to be imposed with 'coimmunity service' and such or good behaviour bonds be imposed (which is also provided for under section 129 Procedure Act) in view of them being first-time opffenders?

One other issue about the caning is, according to the caned women, it was quick and painless. If quick and painless and only to 'educate', why cane taking into account the controversy surrounding the sentences from the judicial and social angles? All these issues indicate that the imposition of the sentences were as if as political chess and not issues of Islam. It was an issue of power of the ruling government to show its physical Islamic qualties and also for the Syariah judicial organisations to elevate its 'status' in a subtle manner more than as stated in the Federal Constitution.
Mitigation?

[part 5 of 8 follows]

_______________________________

Leithaisor said...

In the Procedure Act, there are several sections which permit the Court to use its wisdom to reduce sentences which had been imposed taking into account personal factors of the offender. It permits the Court to mitigate the sentences imposed on an offender.

From Press reports, the 3 women were not repeat offenders. They surrendered themselves and were not arrested, and they has repented (according to the Minister). Section 129 of thge Procedure Act states,

* * * * *

"(1) When any person who is not a young offender has been charged in front of whichever Court for whatever offence which can be sentenced with a jail sentence, then if the COurt finds that taking into account the character, background, age, health or mental condition of the offender or due to the lightness of the type of offence or for whatever lightening condition which is in the offence which has been committed it is in the best interest that the offender be released in a moral trial to behave well, the Court can, by not sentencing him immediately with whatever sentence, order that the offender be released when he posts a bond with guarantors and for as long a period as ordered by the Court to be present and receive judgement if and when called and in the meantime, he should behave well.

* * * * *

For the woman aged 17 years, section 128 of the Procedure Act dealing with young offenders states,

"(1) When any young offender is charged in front of whichever Court for whatever offence which can be sentenced with a fine or jail, the Court must, as a substitute for whatever jail term for failure to pay fines or jail sentence -

(a) order the offender to be released after due advice has been given if it is thought fitting by the Court; or

(b) order the offender to be surrendered to her mother or father or guardian or closest relative or to whatever other person, as determined by the Court, when the mother or father, guardian, kin or other person fulfils a bon with guarantor, such as required by the Court, that he/she will be responsible for the good behaviour of the offender for any period not exceeding 12 months....".

It is clear that the Procedure Act itself contains sections which give the power to reduce sentences which have been imposed. The question is, why were such heavy sentences imposed? So the issue of the caning being an "education" is not tenable and cannot be plausible in view of caning sentence being considered heavier than jailing. And here, all three women had been sentenced to both caning AND jailing!

[part 6 of 8 follows]

_______________________________

Leithaisor said...

The way and fashion the sentences were carried out and revealed to the Malaysian public is also most worrying. Various questions arose which no party could give answers to. Were the three women just 'collateral damage' to enable a certain orgainsation to demonstrate its power or for the government to prove its Islamic qualities? Why have we not heard of heavy sentences being imposed on husbands who did not pay their living expenses and left their wives? The bias in carrying out sentencing engenders the bad perception of syariah institutions in Malaysia. Unfortunately, they do not like to be critisized. All criticism is repaid with labelling as 'anti-Islam' 'liberal Islam' and such. At the very least, criticism will be repaid with allegations that the critic does not understand Islamic fundamentals or worst, challenging Allah's laws and Islamic laws (even though the Syariah Enactment represents the legislators' interpretation)

If any non-critic does not understand, why were they not answered with points? As for the criticism from a women's organisation involved with syariah oppression of women, why did JAKIM and Syarie Lawyers Association not give an answer based on points? As an example, see the sections dealing with Islamic family laws (which were the main basic essence for the formation of the Syariah Court) which follow:

"Section 126. Absolute desertion of wife

Any person who has been ordered by the Court to live with his wife again and he is purposely careless with or does not obey the order, then he has committed an offence and must be sentenced with a fine not exceeding one thousand ringgit or jailed not longer than six months or both".

"Section 127. Abuse of wife

Any person who abuses his wife or cheats his wife of her property has committed an offence and must be sentenced with a fine not exceeding one thousand ringgit or jailed not longer than six months or both".

"Section 128. Does not dispense due justice to wife

Any person who does not dispense due justice to his wife according to Syarak Laws has committed an offence and must be sentenced with a fine not exceeding one thousand ringgit or jailed not longer than six months or both".

[part 7 of 8 follows]

_______________________________

Leithaisor said...

The above provisions involve a husbands abusing his wife. This is injustice on a third party which will also involve children which will clearly cause negative social issues. But strangely, it only involves penalties which are lighter compared to personal offences such as sexual intercourse out of wedlock and sodomy. Is this just? Surely it can be criticised by women's organisations when it is seen to be biased for males. Perhaps from making such 'sensational'sentences, it would be better for Islamic judicial organisations to scrutinise again the provisions to make them fairer and more just?

What is clear is, the depper this issue is analysed, the clearer it becomes that the issue is yet another political chess tactic which has no connection with education of the Muslims or with containment of social problems. The three women were just pawns in a political chess and power in Malaysia game. The sad part is, Islam is again made use of for the purpose of power and votes.


[part 8 of 8]

Leithaisor said...

Alamak. I just noticed that I had posted the translation attempt as comments to YOUR (much better) translation posting.

The young student and I had our noses buried in our attempt this afternoon, and I just clicked on your blog to post the draft. Tak sedar pun that you had already done the job.

Oh well.

Americk said...

Thank you Art, I have been sitting here waiting for this anticipated article for days. Now, if we assume that what you say is correct, ie that the Government are using this issue to try and curry favour with the Muslims and in the process out do PAS by showing they are more 'Islamic', then one thing strikes me as being a little odd with this plot. It presumes all Muslims are a blood thirsty bunch who would revel in the thought that some of their sisters are being incarcerated and assaulted in the most barbaric form. I can't believe for one moment that any true Malaysian Muslim would gleefully accept this and be influenced by this uncivilized behaviour to the extent of casting their votes in favour of these perpetrators. Or are they just shallow minded desperate imbeciles? The Government I mean, not the Muslims.

art harun said...

Leithaisor,

Thank you very much for your gallant effort. I appreciate it although Shaikh had toiled to translate it as well. Thank you again. I am really grateful.

Americk,

You would be surprised at the number of Malays who do not share our thinking. And many of them are educated people from the working class. On FB, there is even a fan page for "Golongan Orang2 Yang Benci Remaja Tidak Tutup Aurat" (People who hate teenagers who do not cover up). Last time I checked there were about 5000 members! It's frightening!

s.saleem said...

Leithaisor,

I am humbled. Thank you. Had I known that you were translating it, I would not have undertaken the task. Brilliantly translated. Good job. Thank you.

Saleem

amoker said...

Art, wonderful article.

Another piece: Why do they take the photo of the ladies being whipped but for a PR exercise?

The whole episode reeks of insincerity to engage on the real issue. "Now that we have done it, we have crossed the bridge so don't question anymore". Wonder if they will do the same for eunthanasia. haha

Anonymous said...

I cant believe this issue is raised by those anti government people. It should not be at all! Why you quickly assume this is political thing? Be open when reading the news.

Canning is actually nothing, the offender should have been given so much heavier punishment.

Jeremiah said...

As I mentioned in Marina Mahathir's blog, the main issue is not gender equality (or whether Saiful should also be caned): if the male offenders were caned and given equal treatment, is it then fair?

No, as a citizen of any country, I will support the right of the one single Muslim to be treated fairly by the law, whether it is the civil or whatever law. Even if the majority of Muslims is in favour of Shariah law.

The fact that caning a woman/man for adultery or fornication is wrong is different from the moral truth that adultery/fornication is wrong.

The penalty of moral sin (as opposed to civil violations) comes from God not from men.

Only those who steal, rape and kill should be jailed and penalised.

Americk said...

Dear Anonymous, this issue is being raised by those opposed to tyranny, hypocrisy and bullshit. If you are saying the people who raise this issue are anti government you are implying the government is full of tyrants, hypocrites and bullshitters. I think you may be right.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry but I really have to say the Malays are a funny lot. The datuks and their children are screwing around while the poor get caned. Yet again these poor souls keep voting for them. All these for keeping tanah Melayu under the Malays. Seriously, they would be better off getting some nationalities to run the country and they will be better off.

Anaktokawang said...

I just couldn't get it... what is these canning things got to do with Anwar sodomy case..or cases? Pls explain how does it relate. Well, to be frank.. I'm not a lawyer. Just need some clarification.. plsss.