Malaysia: Sisters in Islam criticize whipping of women
There is no consensus among Muslim scholars on the range of crimes for which whipping is prescribed, nor on whether women should be whipped. Many countries have already abolished the judicial punishment of whipping or corporal punishment as research has shown that it is not an effective deterrent, even to violent or sexual crimes. Research since abolition also showed that this did not result in an increase in the offences for which whipping was previously imposed.
Given that whipping does not lead to reform nor act as a deterrent, and that it constitutes a form of cruel and degrading treatment that, it is unfortunate that many Muslim countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Iran, Afghanistan and Nigeria, have resorted to introducing whipping to more and more offences, in the name of Islam or the mistaken belief that it acts as an effective deterrent.
SIS believes that Islam as a religion of compassion calls people to the way of God with wisdom, as expressed in Surah An-Nahl,16:125, “Invite all to the way of the Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and reason with them in the ways that are best and most gracious.”
The goal of Islamic authorities is to prevent crime in the first place, not to inflict severe punishment as a first resort. Promoting and protecting the human rights of the ummah, ensuring socio-economic justice, educating the ummah about God’s teachings and laws in order that they become responsible for abiding by them out of faith are prerequisites before any punishment can be implemented.
SIS, therefore, urges the government to conduct a review of severe forms of punishments, which violate human rights principles and where evidence have shown that they fail to deter or to reform the offenders.
Dr Hamidah Marican
Sisters In Islam
23 July 2009
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