Malaysia's religion minister on Tuesday defended Islamic laws that allow girls under 16 to marry, amid a controversy over two youngsters who were married off to middle-aged men. The issue has flared in Malaysia after reports that two girls aged 10 and 11 were wed in the conservative northern state of Kelantan last month. They have now been removed from their husbands. Rights groups have called for the reform of Islamic laws that allow marriage under the age of 16 if religious officials give their consent. Sharia law runs in parallel with civil law in multi-ethnic Malaysia.
On February 18, the Malaysian Home Minister announced the whipping of three Muslim women for illicit sex. This came as a shock to many Malaysians as several conflicting issues raised over the whipping sentence of Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno for drinking alcohol in public have not yet been resolved. Following this, Sisters in Islam (SIS) and its partners in the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) issued a statement in protest against the whipping, maintaining that we believe it is unjust, inhumane and unconstitutional. Please see attached for full statement. Update on Malaysia: Harassment of Sisters in Islam for questioning 'Syariah' caning of 3 women
The Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) has lodged police reports against The Star managing editor P. Gunasegaran and Sisters in Islam (SIS) for questioning the syariah whipping against three Muslim women for engaging in illicit sex. Mais secretary Datuk Mohamed Khusrin Munawi said an article written by Gunasegaran had denigrated Islam and the Syariah law.
Sisters in Islam (SIS) is shocked that the Prisons Department has caned three Muslim women for shariah offences. Given that several issues on shariah and constitutional grounds, sentencing guidelines and Malaysia’s commitments to international human rights instruments that were raised on the Kartika case remain unresolved, we question the government's motive in proceeding with the caning of Muslim women.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim failed in his bid to get a stay of his sodomy trial and the hearing proper is now set to begin on Wednesday. In rejecting the stay application on Tuesday, High Court judge Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah said there were no special circumstances to warrant a stay of the sodomy trial. “I find that there is no special circumstances in the law of proceedings (shown by Anwar) to grant a stay. The trial will proceed,” he said in his ruling in a packed courtroom.
The [Sisters in Islam] SIS Forum (Malaysia) succeeded in throwing out the Home Minister’s order banning its 215-page book, Muslim Women and the Challenges of Islamic Extremism. High Court judge Justice Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof on Monday ruled that the book is not a threat to public order. He said the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia’s (Jakim) objection to the book was that it could confuse Muslims, especially those who with only a superficial knowledge of their religion, as the publication explains Islamic teachings according to the writers’ own views.
A large-scale study currently underway across Malaysia uncovers proof that polygamy harms everyone involved: from emotionally scarred children, to wives who think they’d be better off as single-parent households, and even husbands who admit “I wouldn’t recommend it for my son; it’s quite stressful.”
A city church in the leafy Desa Melawati suburb was set on fire at midnight as police warned angry Muslim groups not to protest a controversial ruling allowing Catholic weekly Herald to use “Allah” in its national language section. The attack on the Metro Tabernacle A/G, an Assemblies of God church in Jalan 4/4C Desa Melawati, completely gutted its administrative office on the ground floor. There were no reported injuries in the midnight attack. Police have yet to identify the attackers and no one has claimed responsibility for the attack which could be related to anger over the Dec 31 court ruling. The judgment has been suspended pending government appeal.
Southeast Asia Muslim human rights advocates express concerns on the growth of politicized Islam in the ASEAN region and makes recommendations to ASEAN leaders at the 15th ASEAN Summit. A regional meeting of Southeast Asian human rights advocates was held in Jakarta on 16-17 October 2009 to examine how certain interpretations of Sharia laws are affecting the rights of the women in Muslim contexts in the region and undermining secularism and democratic institutions in such countries as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.