Sisters in Islam (SIS) is opposing the government’s proposal to establish a special police unit dubbed “syariah police”.
The “Syariah Police” is meant to battle the spread of Shiite teachings, and according to Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM), there are approximately 1500 or 0.005 % of Shiite Muslims in the entire Malaysian population.
“We are concerned that this could lead to further harassment, intimidation and moral policing of Muslims and the violation of their fundamental liberties as guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.”
“We do not believe a punitive approach to monitor Muslims and how they practise their faith is the wisest way forward for a country that claims to lead a global movement of moderates.”
In their statement, SIS also points out that religious aids have often violated the personal dignity and privacy of the subjects, and in some cases, death. “The Syariah Criminal Offences laws contain vaguely drafted “catch all” provisions, which provide wide discretion for interpretation and abuse by enforcement officers,” the statement said. “We have not read of any investigations carried out to hold these religious enforcement officers to account.”
SIS points out that the Syariah institution’s need to punish Muslims does not bode well for the peace and unity of this country. The Islamic women’s rights group also quotes Prime Mister Najib Tun Razak’s speech during the global “Movement of Moderates” launch in January 2012.
“We have many ethnic groups, many religions, but we continually strive to be a harmonious and truly united nation predicated on the values of moderation and the spirit of 1Malaysia.”
“Governments must lead by example. For how can we expect moderation from others, if our own actions take us away from the middle of the road.”
“I believe that peace-loving Muslims – the overwhelming majority of Muslims – should unite against the extremists who use our religion as an excuse to commit violence. And one of the most powerful tools we have to do so is alwasatiyyah: the practice of moderation.”
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