24 February, 2010

Most Malaysians accept the caning of women ?

Most Malaysians accept the caning of women under the country’s Shariah courts, Islamic Development Department (Jakim) director general Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz said on Wednesday.

“Jakim held a seminar to discuss caning long before it became an issue among Malaysians. The outcome was encouraging because the participants understood the whys and hows of it,” he said .

“We are aware that some parties are still unable to accept the punishment but given time and more explanation, I believe they will come around.”

He added that Jakim was “willing to explain the issue all over again, to whoever needs an explanation.”

Malaysia’s Women’s Minister, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, said on Tuesday that she hoped to organize a conference with representatives of other Muslim-majority countries to discuss the punishment.

She respected the caning sentence recently doled out to three women, but she believed physical punishment was not the only option.

“Wrong is wrong, but there are many ways to handle the issue, including rehabilitation and counseling,” Shahrizat said.

The women were caned for having sex outside marriage. They have since publicly defended the punishment, saying it gave them a chance to repent.

Authorities used a light rattan stick to hit the women on their backs while they were fully clothed. The caning of men in Malaysia, by contrast, is done on bare skin and can cause bleeding and scarring.

If ever there was a case of hypocrisy and double standards about the caning of women, this must be one of them. It is despicable and crass and just shows how we are tumbling headlong into an abyss of sanctimoniousness and moral decay.

Rights Groups Outraged Over Caning of Women in Malaysia

The caning of three Muslim women for having illicit sex, the first time the penalty has been carried out under Islamic law in Malaysia, drew outrage from rights activists on Thursday.

The case has fuelled concerns over rising “Islamisation” in Malaysia, where religious courts have been clamping down on rarely enforced religious laws that ban alcohol and sex out of wedlock for Muslim Malays.

The women were caned earlier this month at a women’s prison outside Kuala Lumpur, the home minister revealed Wednesday, saying they received the punishment while they were fully clothed and were not injured.

Amnesty International said there has been an “epidemic” of caning in the Muslim-majority country, where many more people have been whipped under civil laws.

“The Malaysian government needs to abolish this cruel and degrading punishment, no matter what the offense,” said Asia-Pacific director Donna Guest.

Legal commentators said that the Islamic courts — which operate in parallel to the civil system in Malaysia — were becoming increasingly confident, threatening Malaysia’s status as a secular nation.

“It looks to me as if it is the Sharia courts are trying to assert themselves by imposing this rather mediaeval punishment,” said Azmi Sharom, from the law faculty of Universiti Malaya.

“There’s been more and more debate over the past five years over whether this country is becoming more Islamised, so they could be showing their strength just to make a point.”

Activist group Sisters in Islam said it was “shocked” at news of the caning, and that it went ahead even as a caning sentence handed down last year to a Muslim woman caught drinking beer was being reviewed and hotly debated.

“To do this surreptitiously implies that the government wanted to hide this degrading and unjust treatment from public scrutiny,” said Hamidah Marican, executive director of Sisters in Islam.

“This case constitutes further discrimination against Muslim women in Malaysia,” she said, adding that it violated a constitutional ban on whipping women.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Wednesday that two of the women were caned six times while the third woman was given four strokes.

Islamic scholars have said the punishment would have been carried out with a cane that is smaller and lighter then the heavy length of rattan used in the civil justice system for rapists and murderers.

“I hope this will not be misunderstood so much that it defiles the purity of Islam,” Hishammuddin said.

“The punishment is to teach and give a chance to those who have fallen off the path to return and build a better life in future.”

Islamic authorities triggered uproar last year when they sentenced mother-of-two Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno to six strokes of the cane after she was caught drinking beer in a hotel nightclub.

Her case, which was to have been the first time a woman was caned under Islamic law in Malaysia, is still under review after she was given a last-minute reprieve amid intense media coverage.

Malaysia’s Bar Council said it was “shocking” that the caning of the three women went ahead while the Kartika case was unresolved.

“Whipping as a punishment for any offence is anachronistic and inconsistent with a compassionate society,” it said in a statement.

Observers say that the dynamic of “political Islam” has escalated since 2008 elections that saw the long-serving Barisan Nasional coalition lose unprecedented ground to the three-member opposition alliance.

After minority voters deserted the coalition, its lead party the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) is now vying with the conservative Islamic party PAS, an opposition member, for the votes of Malays.

- Source

The news about a 15-year-old Malaysian teenager, by the name of Salsabila Yunan aka Bella has just broken, in the mainstream papers. Salsabila who calls herself an actress, ran off with an Indonesian man from Lombok. They are now married and she is 6 months pregnant. She has not even finished her PMR examinations. Her father was quoted as saying that Umno Youth had traced her and brought her home. Although he is grateful to them, she is unrepentant about her marriage. She says she would like her husband to come to Malaysia and look after her and the baby, and has asked for help from Umno and the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta, to furnish her husband with the appropriate travel papers.

This girl is underaged !!

Read: "No whipping for girl rescued by Umno Youth? — Mariam Mokhtar"



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