Malaysia: Khalwat raids 'contravene several injunctions in the Quran'

The Star

Islamic religious authorities should follow procedures when they are carrying out khalwat raids. Non-governmental organisations said officers conducting the raids would not be accused of acting beyond their jurisdiction if they did so. They said this when asked to comment on the incident in which a 21-year-old college student fell to his death from an apartment in Gombak while trying to escape a khalwat raid. It was reported that the raid was carried out by several mosque committee members after residents complained of immoral activities at the apartment. Sisters in Islam (SIS) said khalwat raids shouldn’t be carried out in a way that degrades human dignity.

“The practice of barging into people’s houses, and bedrooms in particular, clearly violates an individual’s right to privacy and human dignity protected by the Quran,” said its legal affairs officer Ratna Osman.

She added that khalwat raids contravened several injunctions in the Quran.

Expressing sadness over the student’s death, she said such incidents would not have happened if procedures were followed.

Malaysian Council For Child Welfare honorary secretary Ismail Majid also said khalwat raids should be carried out according to guidelines spelt out by the state religious authorities.

“I don’t know how the raiding party carried out their operation, but the youth must have panicked and jumped out the window.

“Usually, raiding officials will knock on the door and introduce themselves before checking whether any form of immoral activity is taking place in the house.

“Standard operating procedures should be followed. Otherwise, their methods may be questioned if something untoward happens,” he added.

Social activist Datuk Paduka Marina Mahathir wrote in The Star on Tuesday that religious officials should be held accountable if death or injury occurred during khalwat raids.

Sunday May 2, 2010