“Moderate” Malaysia with Hudud–Wrong signal to the World, says G25


March 25, 2015

“Moderate” Malaysia with Hudud–Wrong signal to the World, says G25

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com

Group of 25Malaysia will send a signal to the world that it has abandoned moderation should the PAS-led Kelantan government be allowed to enforce hudud in the state, said the G25, a group of retired high-ranking Malay civil servants who want a rational discourse on Islam.

The group said Malaysia would be seen as a country governed by religious laws that were subjected to the interpretation of clerics, and urged Putrajaya to protect the Federal Constitution as the country’s supreme law.

“Since Independence, this country has chosen the path of moderation. The Prime Minister has continued to steer the government along this path and has launched the Global Movement of Moderates to show to the world that the country is committed to the principle of moderation.

“The imposition of PAS’s hudud laws will signify to the world that Malaysia has abandoned the moderate path. We will be seen as a country governed by religious laws which are subjected to the vagaries of interpretation of the ulama who are also fallible human beings,” G25 said in a statement.

The group said that a multiracial country with an open economy like Malaysia could not afford to alter the secular character of its Constitution to allow for the implementation of PAS’s hudud enactment.

G25 added that it supported Dr Chandra Muzaffar’s view that the Federal Constitution was not un-Islamic, and said any attempt to amend the Constitution to allow hudud’s implementation would violate the Malaysia Agreement.

It also raised doubts as to whether Kelantan’s hudud law, as detailed in the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code (11) Enactment, 1993 (Amendment 2015) would succeed in upholding justice, given the diversity of juristic interpretations of the law.

G25 added that the Kelantan government was pushing for hudud without even having met the conditions required for its implementation, as outlined by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Chairman of the World Union of Muslim Scholars.

Al-Qaradawi had said that a society must ensure the economic needs of the people were met, employment opportunities were provided for all, and poverty was eradicated before hudud could be enforced, said G25.

“In light of the above elucidation by Sheikh Qaradawi, can any state in Malaysia claim to have satisfied the pre-conditions in order to allow for the implementation of Hudud?” said G25.

The group also cited Islamic scholar Professor Hashim Kamali, who analysed PAS’s original 1993 enactment and found that it “failed to be reflective either of the balanced outlook of the Quran or of the social conditions and realities of contemporary Malaysian society”.

Hashim, who heads the Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS), also said, “the Hudud Bill exhibited no attempt to exercise Ijtihad (creative thought) over new issues such that would fulfil the ideals of justice and to encourage the development of a judicious social policy.”

G25 said that a perusal of the 2015 hudud enactment revealed it continued to emphasise punishment rather than repentance and rehabilitation as espoused in the Quran.

“Many other prominent Muslim scholars such as S.A.A. Maududi, Salim el-Awa, Muhamad al-Ghazali, Mustafa al-Zarqa and Cherif Bassiouni have opined that the application of hudud as an isolated case without providing the necessary context and environment is not only unrealistic, but is more likely to induce the opposite result and frustrate, rather than satisfy, the Islamic vision of justice and fair play.

“In addition, they emphasise that the Hadith, as recorded in Sahih Al-Bukhari, and which is also a legal maxim, provides that Hudud must be suspended in doubtful situations,” said G25.

Hadi3PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang is seeking to table a private member’s bill in Parliament during the current sitting ending April 9, which, if passed, would allow the Kelantan government to enforce hudud in the state.

The bill is to amend the Shariah Courts Act (Criminal Jurisdiction) 1965, which limits the power of the Shariah courts to a maximum penalty of RM5,000 in fine, three years’ jail and six strokes of the rotan.

An amendment is required in this law to enable Kelantan to carry out hudud law, after the state assembly on Thursday unanimously passed the Shariah Criminal Code II Enactment 1993 (Amendment 2015).

If tabled in Parliament, Hadi’s private member’s bill only needs the support of 112 MPs, or a simple majority, for it to be passed if the full house of 222 MPs are sitting.

Barisan Nasional (BN) has yet to issue an official statement in support of hudud, while BN Back Benchers Club Chief Tan Sri Shahrir Samad said the 87 Muslim UMNO MPs and 10 Muslim PBB MPs may vote based on their conscience.

However, UMNO MP Datuk Nur Jazlan has already stated he will not support the enforcement of hudud, while Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz became the first minister from the party to dismiss attempts to implement hudud in Malaysia, saying such talk was “stupid” as it could never legally happen.

De facto Law Minister Nancy Shukri yesterday, similarly dismissed the chance of hudud being implemented in Kelantan, saying the private member’s bill on the issue will not get a single vote from Sarawak lawmakers in Parliament. –
– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/hudud-laws-will-signal-malaysia-has-abandoned-moderation-says-g25#sthash.4yJaYLbV.dpuf

Afghan woman Farkhunda lynched in Kabul


March 24, 2015

This is hudud as practised in Afghanistan. We cannot have this type of barbaric law in our multiracial country which has a constitution to protect the fundamental rights of all its citizens. What is being played out in Kelantan cannot be allowed to spread to other states in Malaysia.

Malaysians must have the conviction to stand up against its implementation and tell PAS via their Members of Parliament that we reject any move to impose hudud, even though it is supposed to apply to only Muslims in Malaysia. When it comes to justice and freedom, we must speak with one voice.  Hadi Awang must stop playing a dangerous game.–Din Merican

Afghan woman Farkhunda lynched in Kabul

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32014077

An Afghan woman who was lynched after being falsely accused of burning the Koran was killed for tackling superstitious practices, witnesses say.

Farkhunda, who was beaten to death by a Kabul mob last week, had been arguing with a mullah about his practice of selling charms to women at a shrine.In the course of the argument she was accused of burning the Koran and a crowd overheard and beat her to death.

farkhunda-screengrab2

Farkhunda, 28, was beaten, hit by bats, stamped on, driven over, and her body dragged by a car before being set on fire.

A Policeman who witnessed the incident on Thursday told AP news agency that Farkhunda was arguing with a local mullah. Her father said she had complained about women being encouraged to waste money on the amulets peddled by the mullahs at the shrine.

“Based on their lies, people decided Farkhunda was not a Muslim and beat her to death,” Mohammed Nadir told AP.

The Policeman who saw the incident, Sayed Habid Shah, said Farkhunda had denied setting the Koran on fire.

“She said I am a Muslim and Muslims do not burn the Koran,” he said. “As more people gathered, the Police were trying to push them away, but it got out of control,” he added. An official investigator has also said there was no evidence she had burned the Koran.

“Last night I went through all documents and evidence once again, but I couldn’t find any evidence to say Farkhunda burnt the Holy Koran,” General Mohammad Zahir told reporters at her funeral on Sunday. “Farkhunda was totally innocent.”

Police say they have detained 18 people over the incident, with more arrests expected. In addition, 13 policemen have been suspended for having failed to do enough to stop the attack.

Shukria, a woman visiting the shrine on Monday, told the BBC that the attack was “not just an attack on Farkhunda, but on all Afghan women. They have killed us all”. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has ordered an investigation into her death.

The attack, near the Shah-Du-Shamshaira mosque and shrine, is thought to have been the first of its kind in Afghanistan.

Breaking with tradition, women’s rights activists carried the coffin at her funeral, a role usually performed by men. Farkhunda’s family initially claimed she was mentally ill, but this has since been retracted by her father who said he was told to say so by police to reduce the chances of violent reprisals against them.

Hudud Law Again


March 23, 2015

Hudud Law Again

by Kassim Ahmad

Kassim AhmadSome Muslims pride themselves for upholding what is called the hudud punishments. Do they really know what they are talking about? They think it is God-ordained law. Are they right? They should remember the lessons of history.

Did the Jewish Prophet Moses bring the religion of what is now known as Judaism? The answer is: No. Did Prophet Jesus, also a Jew, bring the religion of what is now known as Christianity. Again the answer is: No. Did Prophet Muhammad, an Arab, bring the religion of Sunnism and Shi’ism? Again the answer is: No.

Human history is littered with errors that came to be accepted later as “facts”. We are not talking of small errors. We are taking of big ones. That explains the rise and fall of nations. One author has described this historical evolution as “recurring, multilinear, yet ascending.” That means on the whole we are progressing, but the line of progress is not ascending linear, but multilinear, sometimes ascending, sometimes descending.

Let me cite just one authority, Prof. Mohammad Hashim Kamali. This paragraph is taken from his book, Punishment in Islamic Law: An Inquiry into the Hudud Bill in Kelantan (Kuala Lumpur: 2000) is very telling: “When we compare the Quranic usage of hadd (in the sense of limit) with the use of this term in fiqh, we notice that a basic development has taken place, which is that the term hadd has been reserved to signify a fixed and unchallengeable punishment that is laid down in the Quran or Sunnah. The concept of the ‘separating or preventing limit’ of the Quran is thereby replaced by the idea of fixed punishment.” (p. 46)

There you have another example of a major error made by great scholars. That is precisely why the Quran warns us of idolizing leaders or scholars. We could be kind if we chose to pardon them by saying that it was their understanding, or their ijtihad, which must be reviewed by the next generation.

The term hududu’l-Lah (God’s boundaries) occurs in the Quran 14 times, none of which refer to fixed punishments, as understood by some Muslim jurists. One scholar opined that, “The unchangeability of the hadd punishement is supported by the interpretation of the Quranic verse: ‘These are the limits of Allah. Do not transgress them.’” (2: 229) The verse does not actually mean what he says it means.

Let us take some of the so-called hudud punishments. Cutting of the head for apostasy, when the Quran advocates complete freedom of belief, some 1400 years ahead of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; stoning for adultery, cutting of the hand for theft are three of the six or seven of the so-called fixed punishments propounded by Muslim jurists. Take note these run counter to the fundamental teachings of the Quran.

Take note also that the divine order to our courts is to judge among people with justice. (See Quran, 4: 58) Surely God Who decrees upon Himself mercy (Quran, 6: 12) cannot enact such archaic and barbarous laws.

It is to be remembered that Muslim jurists of the four schools differ much in their views. We need not go into them. We should take note that these punishments are taken from the Torah. They creep into the so-called sunnah/hadith, or Prophetic traditions, i.e. traditions ascribed to Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad’s name is so great among Muslims that anything said to originate from him is sacrosanct.

We should also note that the Quran has two dimensions, the historically bound, and the universal. The historically bound will be surpassed when the historical context no longer prevails. They will pass over into the universal. The two universal principles are: equal punishment, and merciful punishment. The first means punishment equaling the crime, and the second means lightening the punishment, up to and including pardon. We can see that the two universal principles have been imbibed into all modern civilized societies.

The final and unchallengeable proof that there is no such thing as the hudud fixed punishments is that they are nowhere mentioned in the Medina Charter promulgated by Prophet Muhammad himself when he migrated to Medina.

Take note that Brunei has already declared that it would practise hudud punishments. However, it did not reveal that Brunei royalty is exempt from them.

It is good to hold firmly to our religion, but do not dispense with our reason when doing so. Fanaticism is out of the question. God has forbidden belief to those who not use their reason. (See Quran, 10: 100) We should be able to confront the opponents’ arguments with better arguments. Otherwise, we should make adjustments to our religious beliefs. That is the only reasonable thing to do. Only then can we arrive at the truth. Truly the truth is God. Only then can we be at ease with our inner selves and enter into God’s kingdom. That is Paradise, the ultimate and supreme happiness.

KASSIM AHMAD is a freelance Malaysian writer.

 

Why Not Hudud


Why Not Hudud

by Hafidz Baharom@www.malaysiakini.com

I have Kelantanese relatives based in Kuala Lumpur. I have a Kelantanese mother, so that explains pretty much where I am coming from.

Throughout the years, many have tried to get me interested in my Islamic faith, from Quran lessons at the Iqra’ Institute to my name suddenly appearing on the registration roll for a religious school which I did not attend.

Karen Armstrong Latest Book

Instead, my interest in religion was catered for by a book my father bought. It was ‘The History of God’ by Karen Armstrong, a book that Malaysia had banned until she came to Kuala Lumpur. My interest was then further piqued by Reza Aslan’s ‘No God But God’. And thus, these two authors – a former nun and a Shiite – are pretty much my go to reads on religion.

Aslan’s book detailed how even the early scholars of Islamic jurisprudence found themselves tortured by the very people who were tasked to implement ‘God’s Law’. Armstrong’s latest book, ‘Fields of Blood’, details how religion itself left a bloody trail in history from the definition of scapegoat all the way up to the schisms in religion.

Every historian highlighting the Crusades from a Christian point of view have highlighted the phrase that launched their armies to the Holy Land; God wills it. Those three words have been the scapegoat for the murder of intellectuals and scholars, the hanging of African-Americans during the age of slavery, the decapitation of people in Saudi Arabia, the burning of a Jordanian pilot in war-torn Syria and now, the passing of hudud law in Kelantan.

In each and every case, God is used as a justification for violent treatment against mankind, from maiming to hanging to amputation, decapitation and even having a human barbecue. The exact same reason was paraphrased to establish Israel at the expense of Palestinians, inevitably launched the Second World War, and even the attacks in Paris.

Hadi3
Hudud is his Only Political Capital
And now it is being used in Kelantan. Personally, I have no idea if what was passed by the Kelantan state assembly is even constitutional. A similar case that we could see with the denunciation of slavery and the secession of Confederate states that led to the American Civil War.

Even then, one side had argued that slavery was a God-given right. Similarly, I would wait for the law to be put to the test. Will the people of Kelantan all around Malaysia found to be in offence of their laws be dragged across state lines to be held accountable, similar to how slaves who escaped were dragged kicking and screaming across the Mason-Dixon Line?

Leading to a schism?

Will we see other states suddenly legislating against these actions and thus, leading to a schism which will lead to a similar separation as America experienced? Unfortunately for us, we don’t have a Lincoln who would threaten a civil war or an end to the hudud implementation.

Instead, we have a toothless federal government which has done nothing but remain mum, even when a woman in the media is getting death threats for speaking up against this ridiculous topic. And this is exactly how I perceive hudud law; a ridiculous topic.

Kelantan is one of the poorest states in the federation of Malaysia. It has seen its natural resources plundered for the wealth of the few and for all its talk of being ‘Islamic’, there is nothing Islamic about inequality in wealth and opportunities which the state suffers greatly from.

A quick look at the statistics provided by the relevant authority shows that the state has an increasing number of its population venturing out to other states to pursue education and jobs.

So I only have this to say to the members of the Kelantan state assembly; if you truly see value in implementing God’s Law, have it apply on yourselves to the fullest extent before applying it to anyone else.

God’s law dictates you pay true tithes on your business and empty out your baitulmal annually and give it to the poorest of your people. Have you done so? God’s law dictates you are only lease holder for the Earth, yet I notice no such harsh penalties for pollution and illegal logging. Why is that?

There are many aspects of God’s law that is not even looked at or bothered by the Kelantan state assembly, and this would make them all hypocrites. So, what does God’s law dictate on these people? To be frank, it would mean their special privileges under Article 153 would all be revoked.

This is all, of course, the rambling views of someone who looks at religion from a historical aspect with a layman appreciation of Islam.

I was taught that to preach religion, one had to actually follow it to the letter before doing so. Thus, why would I support a law which I would never in my life follow to the letter, Godly or not.

After all, not everyone in this country even believes in the same God, let alone the existence of a god. As such, do you punish someone who does not even believe in the same fate you do that awaits them? What if you’re wrong? And the most important question of all; what if you’re wrong? Would you be willing to bet your afterlife on your actions?

This is basically the main point of God’s covenant in all laws He so dictates. It’s a risky thing to bet your life, it is truly another to bet eternal damnation for your wrongdoings.

I’d rather not bet the wrath of my deity on punishing others while I myself do not adhere to His will. But since Kelantan wishes to do so, I hope they have considered the consequences of such a covenant.

 

Why NO to Hudud Law for Malaysia


March 19, 2015

Why NO to Hudud Law for Malaysia

by Azrul Mohd. Khalib@www.themalaymailoneline.com

najib-on-hududNajib must have forgotten what he said on September 25, 2o11

The tabling of the Shariah Criminal Code Enactment II 1993 (Amendment 2015) in the Kelantan State Assembly and any move to amend the Federal Constitution to allow for the implementation of hudud at the State and Federal levels needs to be opposed by all right thinking Malaysians.

Personally, I will never support the imposition of hudud in this country. These are my four reasons:

Hudud is not needed in Malaysia.

The law should be and is more than just about punishing others. It is about the deliverance of justice. The penal laws at the centre of hudud were written during a time when harsh measures were necessary to impose peace, order and stability amidst a period of lawlessness, conflict and turmoil. They were guidelines for civilised behaviour formulated when and where there were few laws and men. Hudud was necessary there and at that time. Today, in our country, hudud law is neither necessary nor required.

We already have civil and criminal laws which provide for separate sets of laws and punishments. One of the primary tenets of Islam is about the deliverance of justice. The discourse surrounding the adoption and implementation of hudud in this country has barely made justice a mention, much less a priority. It has, however been very much about politics, punishing other people and posturing to “out-Islam” each other.

The adoption of hudud into practice, to me, would represent a failure of our existing legal systems to deliver justice. It would also represent a repulsive need to show others how Islamic we are and how holy we can be at the cost of signing away the liberties and freedoms of others.

Instead of delivering justice, hudud would compromise our existing systems and result in situations which cannot be easily explained away by holy verses and theological arguments.

Lack of accountability, transparency and standard of care.

Our religious department officials have hardly been paragons of these virtues. Whenever these issues are brought up, they have bristled with outrage, indignation and accused others of undermining or questioning their authority.

JAKIM’s Director General Datuk Othman Mustapha recently denounced the questioning of religious authorities as being part of a liberalism movement. As if you needed to be part of an ideology, belief system or movement, to be able to ask questions and demand accountability and transparency from civil servants who are paid with our (Muslim and non-Muslim) tax money.

In 2012, an amendment was made to the Mufti and Fatwa (Kedah Darul Aman) Enactment 2008 by the Kedah state government and passed unanimously by the State Legislative Assembly. The amendment made any fatwa of the state Mufti or Fatwa Committee, whether gazetted or not, unable to be challenged, appealed, reviewed, denied or questioned in any civil or Shariah court. In short, approving a measure which would effectively put a fatwa above the law and above the Federal Constitution.

NIK RAINA INTERVIEWNik Raina–Victim of JAWI’s Persecution

Consider the case of Nik Raina who has been pursued relentlessly by the Wilayah Persekutuan Religious Department (JAWI) despite a defective charge. JAWI’s actions were determined by three courts of law (civil and Shariah) to be illegal, of bad faith and unconstitutional. Yet they still are pursuing her after three years. This case has been the very definition of injustice and a neglect of the standard of care required of a legal criminal case. Instead they have been dependent on the tactics of bullying, intimidation, fear and oppression in the hope that they can beat Nik Raina into submission and defeat.

Islam requires the utmost prudence, caution and compassion in the enforcement of the law and prosecution of cases. The enforcement of hudud will be dependent on the religious departments to demonstrate a clear understanding of the basic legal principles of justice, fairness and compassion. They must also be open to dialogue, criticism and debate. They must be accountable, transparent and exercise prudence and care in enforcement of the law.

Based on recent examples and their behaviour, the parties involved in the discussion of hudud which include religious authorities, thus far have been anything but transparent and open with their intentions. They feel that they are above criticism. That they can do no wrong and are infallible. They feel themselves accountable to no one and need not explain themselves. That to criticise them is to question Islam.

Peddling away fundamental freedoms.

There is a reason for the Shariah system to be where it is under the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. Imposition of the hudud law involves changing the very agreement in which this country was founded on.

Hadi3The Father of Hududdism

Make no mistake, the attempts to rewrite the Constitution are no longer silent. Those who make the self-righteous claim to the mantle of champions and protectors of Islam seem to not hesitate to peddle away our freedoms and liberties at the altar of politics. Such repulsive behaviour is not the exclusive domain of one particular party but can be seen across the chamber and even in the civil service.

There will be those who will ask, why should you be afraid if you have nothing to fear? We know all too well that we have much to fear when the state becomes engrossed in persecuting its own people, looking for sin, finding fault where there is none, jumping at shadows and imagined threats. We have seen enough evidence of it.

Anyway, why should being a Muslim make it alright to be tyrannised and inflicted with injustice? Do Muslims not have the right as non-Muslims to equal protection and treatment under the law? Are we as Muslims to be deprived of rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Federal Constitution simply because of our religion? Why do we allow ourselves to be subject to possible bias, discrimination and religious tyranny?

Implementation of hudud will, without any doubt, affect all regardless of religions, ethnicity or creed. Non-Muslims should not and must not be silent just because they are allegedly not affected by the proposed laws. The eroding of our fundamental freedoms and civil liberties in the name of religion, affects everyone.

We must not allow these people to sacrifice our fundamental freedoms and rights for votes which will last only so long as the next election cycle or the setting of the sun. In these circumstances, there is no such thing as kasi chance lah. What is taken away will be very hard to be given back. If implemented, hudud will change our way of life as we know it in Malaysia.

Unjust means do not equate to Islam and justice.

jamil-khir-baharom

The reasons used to justify the imposition of hudud have not evolved far from “It’s God’s law!” and calling those who criticise its imposition as liars, infidels and munafiks. This lazy defence of hudud not only amounts to religious blackmail to accept it wholesale but also implies that questioning it makes a person less of a Muslim in the sight of God.

These are some of the arguments which the champions of hudud in this country depend on. The great Islamic caliphates of old held great stock in intellectual curiosity and debate. Religious leaders back then were often also lawyers, students of jurisprudence, mathematicians, astronomers, medical doctors, philosophers, explorers and teachers. They were wise men and women who drew on the lessons of the world to decide when to use the spoken word, the pen and the sword to arbitrate and administer justice. Compare them to who we have enforcing religious laws in this country today.

The Quran also clearly states that there is no compulsion in religion. Yet, those who fight for hudud in this country tolerate no dissent or contrarian opinions and require unthinking, unblinking and blind obedience. When people tell you that you shouldn’t or are not allowed to use your mind or akal to reason or rationalise these issues, you know, you have a problem. They want unquestioning compliance and obedience.

Yet, the first word revealed to the illiterate Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was Iqra, which means read or recite. It implies the need to learn. That there should neither be blind adherence nor unthinking compliance. Doing so would make us vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, bigotry and injustice which are all too human.

And as those who enforce hudud are human, they are neither infallible nor free from bias or prejudice. Vulnerable to ego and pride. Sins of arrogance, takbur and bongkak. We have seen evidence of this in the Nik Raina case.

How can we also trust these same people to implement and enforce a criminal code when they have barely been able to keep up on matters such as ensuring the rights of women on issues of inheritance, divorce and child custody?

Finally, let us not be naïve in thinking that non-Muslims will not be affected by these measures. The contents of a Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) strategic paper which states that hudud should be applicable to all, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, tells me that regardless of whether there is the requisite two-thirds majority support in Parliament, there are people working actively behind the scenes to make this universality a reality. The words of a former Chief Justice bring to mind how far up such sympathies can go. We cannot afford to be complacent. This is not just a political issue. This imposition affects all of us.

Muslims and non-Muslims have a right to speak out as we, as Malaysians, are all stakeholders of this country. At the end of the day, it is beholden on us as citizens of this country to decide how Malaysia should be. We look to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and the Sultans to safeguard the interests of all citizens, Muslims and non-Muslims.

For me, I will not subject myself or those who I care for and love to those who would use God’s name in vain in their overzealous pursuit for godliness and to demonstrate their individual or collective piety.

For all these reasons, I will never support hudud in Malaysia and I will resist any  measure which seeks to change the fundamental nature of Malaysia and its people.

*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

Group 25 views JAWI’s latest action against Nik Raina with great concern


March 18, 2015

Group 25 views JAWI’s latest action against Nik Raina with great concern

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Group of 25The Group of 25

COMMENT: We, the Group of 25 (G25) eminent Malays, view with great concern the action by the chief syarie prosecutor of the Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department (Jawi) in filing an appeal to the Syariah Court of Appeal in the case of Ketua Pendakwa Syarie vs Nik Rania Nik Abdul Aziz.

We say this based on the following facts:

a) When Jawi, accompanied by media representatives, raided Borders Bookstore on May 23, 2012 and seized several books by Irshad Manji entitled ‘Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta’ and ‘Allah, Liberty and Love’, these books were not the subject of any ban. There was nothing illegal about these books and Borders was never informed by any authorities that they could not be sold;

b) These books were only banned by the Home Ministry by way of a government gazette that was published three weeks later, on June 14, 2012. Therefore, prior to that date, it was impossible for any law-abiding citizen of Malaysia to know that the religious authorities or the Home Ministry consider these books to be objectionable;

c) Borders made representations for JAWI’s enforcement actions to be discontinued, but these representations were ignored. Borders also filed a judicial review on June 18, 2012 and notified JAWI’s chief syarie prosecutor in the hope that JAWI would refrain from further action;

Nik Raina

d) Instead, having realised that JAWI could not take action against Borders and the merchandising general manager who were non-Muslims, the JAWI chief syarie prosecutor chose to institute criminal proceedings against Nik Raina (above). On June 19, Nik Raina was charged under Section 13 of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997 at the Federal Territories Syariah Court;

e) Thereafter, Nik Raina was subjected to a convoluted and protracted legal process as the manager of the Borders bookstore. Her only ‘offence’ was that she worked as a manager of a bookstore;

f) On March 22, 2013, the civil High Court granted the judicial review and declared that JAWI’s Actions including the syariah prosecution against Nik Raina to be illegal and void. JAWI, represented by the Attorney-General’s Chambers, appealed to the civil Court of Appeal against that decision;

g) On December 30, 2014, the civil Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed JAWI’s appeal and upheld the High Court’s judgment that JAWI’s enforcement actions against Borders and the prosecution against Nik Raina were wrongful, illegal and void;

h) Based on the Court of Appeal’s order dated December 30, 2014, the JAWI chief syarie prosecutor was required to withdraw the syariah criminal prosecution against Nik Raina;

i) On February 26, 2015, the syariah criminal prosecution came before the Syariah High Court presided by Syarie Judge Mohd Amran Mat Zain. It was reported in the press that the JAWI chief syarie prosecutor had left it to the Syarie Judge on the proper order to be made in view of the Order dated December 30, 2014 by the civil Court of Appeal;

Order of discharge not amounting to acquittal

j) In the circumstances, Syarie Judge Mohd Amran Mat Zain was reported by the press to have stated, “…he had considered the fact that the very accusation and the charge itself have been deemed suspect and doubtful. He considered that JAWI’s actions had been chastised and were found by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal to be not only illegal but unconstitutional and done in bad faith. He recognised and empathised with Nik Raina’s sufferings as a result of this case and spoke of how he considered that the circumstances of injustice could harm her…” Accordingly, the learned Syarie Judge made an order of discharge not amounting to acquittal.

The appeal by the JAWI chief syarie prosecutor to the Syariah Court of Appeal may well have the effect of bringing the syariah and civil courts into a collision course, and manifest a conflict of laws and conflict of jurisdiction issues. The action of the chief syarie prosecutor in disregarding the two court orders will put him at risk of committal proceeding being instituted against him.

Manji's Book

We commend the owners of Borders Bookstore, namely the Berjaya Group, for their caring and compassionate attitude towards their employee, Nik Raina and for their material and moral support for her during this traumatic period in her life. We encourage them to explore all legal avenues to uphold her rights under the law.

The chief syarie prosecutor, the Director-General of JAWI and all its officers involved in the prosecution of Nik Raina must be held accountable for their questionable action against her. These actions do not reflect the principles of justice, mercy, compassion and wasatiyyah in Islam.

In this regard, we urge our public authorities to abide by the rule of law and to uphold the supremacy of the federal constitution.

In the Hadith Qudsi reported by Muslim, Allah says, “O my servants! I have forbidden injustice to Myself and have forbidden that for you as well, then do not commit injustice to each other.”

It is difficult to reconcile such unreasonable and unjust conduct on the part of the JAWI chief syarie prosecutor with the command of Allah in the Holy Quran Surah Al Maidah (5:8) to be just and fair, “Oh ye who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong or depart from justice. Be just; that is next to piety…”

In conclusion, we, the G25, implore the federal and state governments, their departments and agencies, Parliament and parliamentarians, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and all public authorities responsible for the administration of the country over which we Malaysians have entrusted upon them, to put in place the necessary legal safeguards to prevent miscarriages of justice and to uphold the principles of justice and equality as enjoined in the Holy Quran and enshrined in the federal constitution.


The Group of 25 eminent Malays consists of former top civil servants, judges, ambassadors and scholars.