Proposal to Prosecute non-Muslims for Khalwat

From the STAR Wednesday, 03 April 2008 by Izatun Shari

KUALA LUMPUR: A seminar on Syariah Law review wants non-Muslims found committing khalwat (close proximity) with Muslims to also be held liable.

This was among the proposals made at the two-day seminar organised by the Islamic Institute of Understanding Malaysia (Ikim) and the Syariah Judiciary Department Malaysia.

Syariah Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Mohd Asri Abdullah said the seminar had proposed that non-Muslims committing khalwat with Muslims should also be sentenced accordingly, but in the civil courts.

“We don’t have the jurisdiction to sentence non-Muslims committing khalwat with Muslims,” he told reporters after closing the seminar on behalf of department director-general Datuk Ibrahim Lembut at Ikim here today.

“The Muslims can be sentenced in Syariah courts, and the non-Muslim partners can probably be sentenced in the civil courts, to be fair to both parties.”

He said the proposal, contained in a draft resolution at the seminar, would be forwarded to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

“It is up to the Attorney-General’s Chambers or the relevant authorities to decide how to create such a law,” he said.

However, he declined to elaborate when the proposal would be forwarded to the Government.

Another proposal is to impose heftier penalties – of up to four times the current penalties – on Muslims caught for khalwat, prostitution, consuming alcohol and involvement in gambling activities.

Mohd Asri said Ikim and the department were proposing that the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Amendment) 1984 be amended to impose stiffer penalties of RM1,000 fine, or five years’ jail or 12 strokes of the rotan for Syariah Lower Courts and RM20,000 fine, or 10 years’ jail or 24 strokes of rotan for Syariah High Courts.

Current limits are a maximum of three years’ jail, or RM5,000 fine, or up to six lashes or any combination of these, and different states provide different penalties for these offences.

“This has not been reviewed since 1984. It has been more than 20 years,” said Mohd Asri.

There was also a proposal for Syariah judges to enforce whipping for these offences.

Another proposal calls for the establishment of a rehabilitation centre for those convicted of offences related to morals and faith such as prostitution and effeminate men, and enforcement of Section 54 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Act (Act 559) to set up such centres.

The seminar also agreed to a suggestion that a new provision be created for apostates

My immediate comment:

Another incident of the government’s ongoing process to make all civil laws shariah-compliant that amounts to a back door imposition of Shariah law on non-Muslims. What’s next? Non-Muslims will be fined because some Muslims happened to be eating in the same restaurant with them during fasting month? That seems to be the logic of Islamic ‘justice’. Be rest assured, the iron hand covered by the velvet cloth grips at tightly as one without the velvet cloth.

Islam Hadhari is supposed to be moderate and guarantees the rights of non-Muslims, so it seems from the government website…770011AB15:

“Pendekatan pendidikan Islam Hadhari memberi kemuliaan insan itu diberikan kepada setiap individu tanpa diskriminasi, sama ada sebagai kumpulan majoriti atau minoriti. Hak-hak mereka dijamin oleh undang-undang negara.”

So much for the government’s assurance that non-Muslims will not be affected in the implementation of Shariah law.

Never trust the words of Muslim bureaucrats (however assuring). Like all bureacrats, their instinct is to extent their power to the limits. What else are they asking for, if not for more power, when they want to increase punishment for violation of shariah law?


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