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.
The following, and attached, are recommendations from the Regional Meeting held in Jakarta, 16-17 October 2009. Islam in Southeast Asia has long been recognized as humane, tolerant, diverse, plural, metropolitan, progressive, and empowering of women. It is thus a matter of urgent concern that the rapid growth of Islamic extremism is now changing the landscape in Southeast Asia, with serious consequences for all living in the region, as well as for the rest of the world. Leaders of ASEAN member states are urged to be cognizant of this regressive trend, which will have serious impacts not only on women’s rights, human rights, but also on the stability and development of the region as a whole. The conservative and monolithic values that underlie this trend are intolerant of the diversity that characterizes Southeast Asia. Such extremist attitudes result in acts that marginalize women and also use terrorist tactics to eliminate diversity.
The International Solidarity Network, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), and the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women! (SKSW) are greatly concerned that the caning of Madam Kartika will shortly take place, possibly in secret.
Sisters in Islam (SIS) of Malaysia has submitted an application for revision and stay of execution of the caning sentence passed on Madam Kartika. SIS is asking the court to revise the sentence on several grounds, reminding the Malaysian government of its obligations under international law, constitutional and legal issues, and sentencing guidelines. Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno was sentenced by the Pahang Syariah Court to be lashed six times and fined RM 5000 as punishment for drinking beer with her husband in a hotel nightclub in Cherating (Pahang state) on 12 July 2007. The mother of two was charged under Section 136 of the Pahang Islamic and Malay Traditional Practices Enactment (Amendment) 1987. We have recently learned that the same judge has passed five other sentences on Muslim men and women for alcohol consumption.
Syariah prosecution head Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar said the department would not announce when 32-year-old Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno would be caned, scheduled for after Hari Raya, to avoid a "media circus".