SUARAM voices stand on Islamic law propositionPosted: April 4, 2008
Forcing Islamic law upon non-Muslims unconstitutional and could worsen ethno-religious relations
This in effect forcefully imposes the Syariah law on non-Muslims in Malaysia. For a non-Muslim to be charged with a criminal offence for his/her personal conduct based on principles of a religion that he/she does not subscribe to is unjustifiable. This is a clear infringement of freedom of religion and the rights of the non-Muslims, which is enshrined in Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.
Further, it is also feared that such a law will lead to other serious human rights violations. The high probability of overzealousness of the enforcement authorities in carrying out their duties could, for example, lead to intrusion into rooms and houses, violating individuals’ rights to privacy.
SUARAM is further disturbed by the other proposals made, including the imposition of stiffer penalties, rehabilitation for Muslims convicted of offences related to ‘morals and faith’ such as prostitution and effeminate men, and a new provision be created for apostates. These proposals will only further exacerbate the degree of ‘moral policing’ in the country, which has led to various serious human rights violations.
In Malaysia, where ethnicity and religion are intertwined, the proposal of imposing laws on non-Muslims based on Syariah principles could cause ethnic relations to further deteriorate. In recent years, issues relating to religion have put ethno-religious relations and nation-building in Malaysia to a serious test. Forcing Islamic law upon non-Muslims will definitely not help resolve, and could even further worsen, the situation.
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I don’t think I need to say more, really. This is just a more factual side to look at this unthinkable proposition.