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The Star - Sharing the Nation - Ok to use God-given intellect (3 April 2016) Go to : Media > Column & Articles > Zainah Anwar's Column << Back Ok to use God-given intellect What we need is to overhaul the way Islam is taught and understood. Our aim is to bring out the best in the religion so Muslims may use it to bring good to the modern world. THE Minister in charge of Religion worries about liberal and pluralist Muslims whom he considers deviant. The Mufti of Perak worries about Muslims who use logic and intellect to make statements on Islam. And this guy from the Perak Islamic Information Centre worries there are Muslims who believe the Federal Constitution, drawn by men and amended several times, could ever be considered superior to Syariah laws formulated by God. Never mind if it’s men who drafted those Islamic laws he was referring to, and men who passed them in Parliament and state assemblies, and men who enforced them. Let me save them from sleepless nights in search of solutions for problems that do not exist, and in the process, waste hours and millions of taxpayers’ money. Such men in power should really be concentrating their time – if not their intellect – on far more important matters that beset the country and the ummah. The threat of terrorism and extremist illiberal thinking, corruption, abuse of power, the thousands of men who beat their wives, who fail to provide and protect their families, who destroy family well-being by taking another wife without the consent, let alone knowledge, of their existing wife and children, who fail to practise family planning and produce more and more children for whom they have no money to support and no time nor skills to guide and nurture. Really. Let’s get some priorities right here on what really are threats to the well-being of the ummah. They certainly do not come from Muslims who believe in liberalism and pluralism. So, yes, let’s use our God-given intellect. Let’s be logical, let’s reason, let’s make decisions on the basis of facts and realities. In a recent parliamentary response to the PAS MP from Pasir Mas, Jamil Khir Baharom said liberal Muslims are a danger because they believe in “pluralism”, which supposedly means an ideology which holds the human intellect to be a revelation. Now that’s a revelation! I wonder how he reached such an understanding of pluralism and where he finds the evidence to support that conclusion. I know many Malaysian Muslims who proudly proclaim themselves as liberals. But as far as I know, they believe in differences and diversity, in progress and change, and they resist authoritarian rule. Those are Islamic values. And the pluralism they celebrate is directly inspired by the Qur’anic verse 49:13: And God has created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes so that you may get to know one another. And where are those so-called liberals who supposedly advocate scepticism on the authenticity of the Qur’an, and advocate new interpretations of worship and dispute the criteria and morals of prophets? He must be reading obscure reports produced by even more obscure people who have to justify their existence as thought police. Yes, there are liberals who question the methodology in interpreting the Qur’an and Hadith, and refer to other methods to comprehend Islamic law that the Minister disagrees with. But lest the Minister forgets, the reason why there are several schools of theology in Islam (kalam) and even many more schools of law (madhab) is due to the fact that the Qur’an has always been open to diverse and differing interpretations. What believing “liberals” in the contemporary world are trying to do is to unearth the richness of the Islamic legal and philosophical tradition in their search for solutions to the injustice perpetrated in the name of Islam, and to bridge the gnawing disconnect between classical law and contemporary reality. It is clear that so many of Malaysia’s Muslim leaders are ignorant of their own tradition when they accuse fellow Muslims as deviants, simply on the basis of differing opinion on how Islam is understood and used as a source of law within a democratic nation-state. If we really want Islam to remain relevant to the realities of our lives today and to ensure that justice is the outcome of any law in practice, there are many Islamic legal principles that can be used to bring about the urgently needed reforms towards justice and equality. We should be proud of our rich and complex tradition and continuously mine for gems, instead of shunting them aside to serve a dogmatic ideology that privileges a few men in authority. I don’t know where and how they studied Islam. But the Islam I studied and continue to study gives me so much hope that justice and equality are possible. Just to start with, I wish they would be guided by the principles of maslaha (public interest), ikhtilaf (differences of opinion), istihsan (choosing the best opinion in the interest of equity and justice), istislah (choosing the best opinion in the interest of public good) in drawing up laws, policies and fatwas. These are rational and liberal concepts constructed by Muslim jurists some 1,000 years ago that our contemporary ulama seem to have forgotten. Why? Is privileging power, authority and dogma over the best interest of the ummah far more important? There is much in our tradition to be proud of. And yet, we continue to be bombarded by pronouncements and actions that just make us cringe and fearful of the future of this country. How could anyone who loves Islam pronounce shamelessly in public that a Muslim cannot use logic and intellect when it comes to Islam? God created humans different from other beings because of our ‘aql (intellect). Dozens of verses in the Qur’an refer to the importance of using the intellect and the consequences when one does not use the intellect. Again, I don’t know where this idea that Muslims cannot use logic and ‘aql comes from. In fact, the science of logic (mantiq) was developed in the most sophisticated manner by Muslim philosophers such as Ibn Arabi and Ibn Sina. Mantiq is taught for hundreds of years in Islamic universities in the Arab world. Muslim philosophers regarded mantiq as a vital instrument to acquire knowledge, develop reasoning and argumentation to demonstrate truth claims. And yet in the 21st century, we Muslims have deviated so far from our own enlightened heritage, and impoverished our minds in the process. This is a tragedy. While history acknowledges how Muslim mantiq scholars brought Greek logic to the attention of the Latin West and helped transform intellectual life of Western Europe in the Middle Ages, we today pronounce Muslims who use logic and intellect as those who have gone astray. Astray from what? The attempts at imposing one authoritarian understanding of Islam to perpetuate power and privilege? Obviously, what Malaysia and much of the Muslim world need urgently is an overhaul of the way we teach and understand Islam. For too long, the religion has been used and abused to serve the interest of those in power and those desperate for power, manipulated beyond recognition to justify discrimination, injustice, authoritarianism, obedience, violence, and at the end of the spectrum of abuses, the unthinkable barbarity perpetrated by IS. Instead of spending hundreds of millions, if not billions on military and security solutions to the problem of extremism, how about spending just a few millions to bring enlightened scholars, public intellectuals, education specialists together to develop a new curriculum on how Islam should be taught in schools and universities to bring out the best in the religion to enable Muslims to use the religion in the best way possible to do good and bring good to the modern world, and to the lives of impoverished Muslims – materially and intellectually. It is this jihad in the intellectual realm that is urgently needed, not a pathetic misguided war against Muslim liberals.

The Star - Sharing the Nation - Building a better Malaysia (13 March 2016) Go to : Media > Column & Articles > Zainah Anwar's Column << Back Building a better Malaysia IS Tan Sri Adenan Satem for real? That’s a common question many in peninsular Malaysia are asking. For me, this question really reflects how far Malaysia has gone astray from the ideals of nationhood that our founding fathers had envisioned to enable this multiethnic country to survive and thrive. That vision of sharing the nation equitably amongst all ethnic groups remains valid and more critical than ever today. And yet none of our national leaders are enunciating it with such clarity, consistency, and urgency as Adenan. And no other political leader in office today calls a spade a spade like Adenan does and uses straight forward common sense logic and practicality to explain and justify contested policies. It is that uncommon in the Malaysian political landscape today that when someone like Adenan comes along, we pinch ourselves and ask if he is for real. He recently promised to reform all laws that discriminate against women, urging women to be assertive and to champion their rights. “If we say we want freedom, it’s freedom for everybody, not just men,” he said plainly at a Barisan Nasional Wanita dinner last week. He is clear and courageous in pushing for a progressive Islam, criticising bigots and extremists, “narrow-minded ustaz” who want to play God, fatwas that have been turned into law when they are just opinions, and the PAS push for hudud law – clearly seeing the party as extremist. He has publicly supported the work of Sisters in Islam, in spite of the attacks against the group by some federal leaders, religious authorities, and Selangor fatwa calling the group deviant. He has no time for the likes of Ibrahim Ali and Ridhuan Tee, banning them from his state for promoting bigotry, racism, and extremism. He announced English will be an official language in Sarawak together with Bahasa Malaysia, for the simple reason it is the dominant global language and if our citizens wanted to thrive, they needed English. And to be sure, he reminded his critics, Sarawak, unlike Sabah, never gave up its right to use English as a national language when it signed the Federation of Malaysia agreement in 1963. And to rub it in, he declared past education policies a failure for ignoring the importance of English, and producing thousands of unemployable graduates who could not string a proper sentence in English. He labelled the Federal government policy on English, well, stupid. He upended federal policy of not recognising the Chinese school’s Unified Examinations Syndicate (UEC) standardised examination which is recognised by many universities worldwide, including in the West. He used the “stupid” word again as he felt it was senseless to allow for a brain drain of smart students who move to other countries that recognise the UEC. In this age of fear and loathing in politics, he is a breath of fresh air. Someone who talks sense, says and, I hope more often than not, does the right thing. He makes, yes, liberal pronouncements! And upholds diversity and pluralism! He eschews the politics of race and religion rampant in the peninsula. And he is popular. So why are our leaders over in the peninsula so scared of doing the right thing? Adenan’s approval rating has soared to 85.5% in Sarawak as he prepares for the upcoming state elections. And even among the Chinese, it is at 64%. He should be the envy of other politicians. If he can get it right, why can’t the peninsula leaders? Why can’t they show similar courage and principles? He continues to this day, two years after taking office as Chief Minister of Sarawak, to make progressive pronouncements on a range of contentious issues that other federal and state Barisan Nasional leaders have been timid about, and worse still, supporting hardline views that divide the nation. He seethes at federal policy of labelling the various Dayak ethnic groups under the category of lain-lain and he calls for a stop to calling the Chinese who have been in Malaysia for generations pendatang. Diversity is to be appreciated, he says as God created us differently for us to know each other. Diversity is wealth. And rightly, he says, we need to more than tolerate each other, but to respect each other for our different beliefs and cultures. All these are music to the ears of much of the electorate in Sarawak and to many of us in peninsular Malaysia. And yet, some peninsular politicians and right wing groups are castigating him. But in typical Adenan style, he declared he didn’t care as he was doing what was best for Sarawak. He is in fact articulating the vision of Rukunegara, that neglected national ideology proclaimed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at the launch of Merdeka Day celebrations in 1970. A rich set of principles, objectives and outcomes to rebuild the nation after the ethnic riots of May 13, now forgotten and betrayed. The Rukunegara document is filled with language that civil society is fighting for today in Malaysia – maintaining a democratic way of life; creating a just society; ensuring a liberal approach to her rich and diverse cultural traditions; building a progressive society; justice founded upon the rule of law with every citizen equal before the law; fundamental liberties guaranteed to all citizens; individuals and groups to conduct their affairs in such a manner as not to violate any of the accepted canons of behaviour which is arrogant or offensive to the sensitivities of any other group; no citizen to question the loyalty of another citizen on the ground that he belongs to a particular community. “These ends and these principles, acceptable to all and applicable to all, will serve as the nexus which will bind us together,” said the Malaysian Government document on the aspirations of the Rukunegara. Alas, how far astray we have gone and how some leaders have sullied the very national ideology that they wanted the rakyat to live by to build this nation. We miss those kinds of leaders who used to inspire us to build a better Malaysia. And today, we think some characters we have are the new norm. So Adenan Satem seems unreal. And yet, his words remind us of the urgent need to go back to our pangkal jalan, to the values and principles upon which we wanted to share this nation that remains big enough for all. Just as it seems unreal that Tun Mahathir and other Umno leaders are sitting with the likes of Lim Kit Siang and Ambiga Sreenevasan signing a joint declaration calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister and reform of the political system to end the rot in Malaysian politics. But are we reaching a turning point in Malaysian political culture? Could this be the new norm? Where Adenan Satem who is expected to win handsomely at the state polls will set the tone for the kind of political leadership that is possible and proven successful with the electorate and will inspire others to change? Where former enemies across the political divide could come together and be true to their words of transformation in service of a common cause for the good of the nation? Or am I being delusional in my desperate need to remain optimistic that change is possible in my beloved country? The rakyat is watching closely. For another betrayal of promises made, hopes raised only to be dashed again will come with a heavy price at the national polls.

Deployment of Police Officers to JAIS Reflects Misplaced Priorities (5 May 2016) Go to : Knowledge Resources > Moral Policing << Back PRESS STATEMENT Deployment of Police Officers to JAIS Reflects Misplaced Priorities The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) questions the need of the decision by The Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) to conduct a pilot project which places two police officers and a Sergeant at the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) to assist in the enforcement of Syariah laws. We are especially concerned as PDRM is a federal body and the allocation of federal resources for a state religious body reflects grave misplacement of priorities. While the deployment of police officers at JAIS may seem like an effort to increase accountability and professionalism of the religious authorities, this pilot project would likely only focus on the implementation of the Selangor Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment specifically on moral policing, with little attention given to the laws themselves and their impact on our fundamental liberties. Wouldn’t federal resources be better spent on tackling issues of gender-based violence rather than on moral policing? According to the Malaysian Government’s Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, in 2014 there were 3,545 reported cases of domestic violence and 2,045 reported cases of rape. Bearing in mind that these statistics are just of reported cases, resources should be allocated for sufficient numbers of police officers as well as for their training to ensure proper investigation and victim support. Deploying police officers to One Stop Crisis Centres and remote districts in Sabah to help more women and children benefit from the Domestic Violence Act is an example of how PDRM’s resources could be better utilised. PDRM’s involvement should not be a backdoor means of legitimising JAIS’ activities. The larger enforcement issue should be in ensuring JAIS’ compliance to the rule of law, including implementing procedural laws and Standard Operating Procedures applicable before, and during and after raids and arrests, which, reportedly have failed to be addressed adequately. In some instances, raids have resulted in fatalities, yet religious authorities have not been held accountable. Greater accountability on the part of public institutions such as JAIS can be achieved by enhancing the ability of citizens to scrutinise the use of public funds and to engage with the authorities in a dialogue on how taxpayers want their money to be spent. Further, to monitoring and conducting due diligence on the impact of JAIS’ activities must be implemented. We strongly urge JAIS to prioritise increasing the professionalism of their officials through robust, consistent and effective training programs at their national training centre or Institute Latihan Islam Malaysia (ILIM). Any action taken by JAIS or any enforcement agency must be guided by principles of justice, by focusing on due diligence, sensitivity, and compliance with Syariah procedural laws.and compassion. JAG has long called for the Government to establish laws and policies that are compliant with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and to stay the course in improving women’s human rights. We reiterate that is not the role of the state to regulate personal lives in Malaysia, nor is it the true purpose of Syariah. 5 May 2016 Endorsed by the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG):

1. Sisters in Islam (SIS) 2. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER) 3. Women’s Centre for Change Penang (WCC) 4. Justice for Sisters (JFS) 5. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS) 6. Sabah Women’s Action Resource Group (SAWO) 7. Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) 8. Perak Women for Women Society (PWW) 9. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) 10. Association of Women Lawyers (AWL)

A NEW ADDITION TO THE ADULT COLOURING BOOK TREND HAS ARRIVED Go to : Media > Media Statements > Others << Back A NEW ADDITION TO THE ADULT COLOURING BOOK TREND HAS ARRIVED, AND IT’S LOCAL! ‘Secret Colours of Malaysia’, a colouring book featuring scenery, flora, fauna and cultural items from all corners of the country, has been published by Editions Didier Millet (EDM) and is being sold exclusively through Borders Bookstore until 23 April, and thereafter at all major bookstores, for RM39.90. Based on an idea by colouring-book-enthusiast Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, EDM put together this 80-page book of detailed black-and-white drawings of the country’s tropical rainforest, animals such as the tiger and hornbill, traditional costumes and textiles, landscapes, architecture and everyday items such as the ais kacang machine. The pen-and-ink drawings were lovingly hand-drawn by four young artists, Ixora Kay Cross, Koh Qi Ning, Safra Zahirah Rosli and Safra Zuhairah Rosli. “It’s about time that Malaysia had its own special colouring book to help dispel the gloom – even in a small way – and showcase the many treasures of this wonderful country,” said EDM’s editorial director and long-time Malaysian resident, Martin Cross. “We are excited with this project and consider ourselves privileged to be able to play some part in it. It is a wonderful way to bring together Malaysians in appreciating our country and a novel way to show the world how truly diverse Malaysia is,” said BERJAYA Corporation Director of Business Development, Hishammudin Hasan. On the occasion of the launch of Secret Colours of Malaysia, a unique fundraising event has been organised to benefit Sisters in Islam (SIS), which advocates for justice and equality for Muslim women. 16 well-known artists and celebrities have contributed their own take on the drawings in the book and these will be auctioned at ILHAM Gallery. The artists are Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Jailani Abu Hassan, Chang Fee Ming, Kow Leong Kiang, Anurendra Jegadeva, Azliza Ayob, Chong Siew Ying, Noor Mahnun Mohamed, Chin Kon Yit, Siow Yin Yoong, Nini Marini and Yvonne Ou Yang while the celebrities are Joe Flizzow, Sonaone, Sharifah Amani and Daphne Iking. The fundraising event is expected to raise approximately RM50 000, which will greatly help SIS in its advocacy work and helping women obtain justice. “We are thrilled to team up with EDM and Borders Malaysia on this project. The various participating artists and celebrities have been very enthusiastic about contributing their works and we are very grateful to them,” SIS’ fundraising chair Marina said. “This is an opportunity to own a unique work of art by some of Malaysia’s best artists and also contribute to a good cause,” she added. Bids for the art pieces start at RM500 for celebrity pieces and RM1000 for artist pieces. SIS would also like to thank ILHAM Gallery and Dennis Chan from Wai Khuan Framers, for their kind support. Sisters in Islam 23 April 2016

Abuse of Authority by JAWI Must End (6 April 2016) Go to : Knowledge Resources > Moral Policing << Back

PRESS STATEMENT JAG: ABUSE OF AUTHORITY BY JAWI MUST END The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) is appalled by the latest news of a raid by the Federal Territories Islamic Department (JAWI) of a private charity fundraising event by a transgender community and the unlawful arrest of the event organizer, Ira Sophia. The raid is another addition to the long list of abuses of power and violation of procedure by JAWI in their overzealous moral policing. The gist of the offences mentioned by the JAWI officers against Ira Sophia, call for an immediate review of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997 (SCOA) and the questioning of ethical standards of JAWI enforcement officers. Accusing individuals of being in contempt or defiance of religious authorities for merely standing up for their rights as enshrined in the Constitution, is unconstitutional and unjust. Moral policing laws have no place in Malaysia as it disrespects a citizen’s right to privacy and has been selectively enforced, often on marginalised groups. It is completely unclear whether JAWI has the authority and power to conduct raids, disallow people from leaving a venue, and taking persons into their custody. We are extremely concerned as these are powers akin to police powers. When enforcement powers such as these are provided to authorities, they must be properly regulated and specifically provided for under specific laws, as they impinge upon a person's civil liberties. Where are the laws that regulate JAWI in conducting these activities? The practice of moral policing also goes against the teachings of Islam which respect one’s right to privacy and preservation of dignity. Various verses in the Quran reflect this, such as in Surah al-Hujurat (49:12), “do not pry into others secrets” and Surah an-Nisa (4:58), “when you judge among the people, do so equitably.” JAWI’s actions are clearly un-Islamic as it was aimed to intimidate and humiliate the transgender community in Malaysia. JAG once again, calls on the state to review the SCOA as the catch-all provisions in the Act have allowed for wide interpretation and abuse by enforcement officers. JAWI or other state religious authorities cannot be allowed to continuously undermine the Federal Constitution because of the misguided perception that they are guardians of Islam and morality in Malaysia. 6 April 2016 Endorsed by the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG): 1. Sisters in Islam (SIS) 2. Justice for Sisters (JFS) 3. Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) 4. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS) 5. Tenaganita 6. Perak Women for Women (PWW) 7. Association of Women Lawyers (AWL) 8. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) 9. Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) 10. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)

Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir recipient of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur Go to : Media > Letters to Editor > Others << Back Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir recipient of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, the vocal columnist and human rights defender today received the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (Knight in the Legion of Honour) from the Government of France. She was conferred the prestigious award by the French ambassador H.E Christophe Penot, in a special ceremony held at his residence in Kuala Lumpur. Marina, 58, well-known for her forthrightness and candour in expressing her views in both mainstream and social media is one of only eight Malaysians who have received the award. She is also the second recipient from Sisters in Islam (SIS) to receive this honour, the first being Zainah Anwar, co-founder of SIS. Marina expressed her gratitude in receiving the award which recognized human rights defenders in Malaysia. “I am very honoured that the French government recognizes the work of women human rights defenders in Malaysia because they are often under-appreciated,” she said. Sisters in Islam congratulates Marina, a former board member of SIS, for this achievement as recognition of her contribution to social and political activism in Malaysia. Marina is widely known for her work in spreading awareness of HIV/AIDS in Malaysia since the ‘90s when she was president of the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC). She has also been a staunch defender of gender equality and has lent her voice to the cause of justice for Muslim women. Her work in this area extends beyond Malaysia in her role as a member of the International Advisory Group of Musawah, the global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family. Marina’s influence on human rights activism is well recognized even internationally, when she was named Malaysian of the Year in 2010, by the United Nations (UN) in Malaysia and was one of the only two Malaysians named by Women Deliver as one of the 100 Most Influential People working for Women and Girls. She was also recently appointed a member of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Advisory Group on Gender, Forced Displacement, and Protection. In the present climate where there appears to be a rift along the lines of religion and ethnicity, Marina reminds us all that we are united in our humanity. Through her writings, she speaks for the marginalised, disempowered and persecuted. Marina who has indeed followed in the footsteps of her father, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is an inspiration to all Malaysians. Some of the other Malaysian recipients of the Légion d’Honneur include Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, the former Yang DiPertuan Agong and reigning Sultan of Terengganu and Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh, the internationally acclaimed actress. The conferment of the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur to Marina could not be timelier as it serves to remind all Malaysians that they can all be agents for change. We at SIS are proud to have Datin Paduka Marina in the SIS family, fighting together for justice and equality. Sisters in Islam 30 March 2016

Sarawak High Court judgment defends Freedom of Religion in Malaysia Go to : Knowledge Resources > Fundamental Liberties > Freedom of Religion << Back PRESS STATEMENT Sarawak High Court judgment defends Freedom of Religion in Malaysia Sisters in Islam (SIS) applauds the decision by judge Datuk Yew Jen Kie declaring Roneey Rebit a Christian and ordering the National Registration Department (NRD) to change his religion from Islam to Christianity on his identity card. This judgment reaffirms the supremacy of the Federal Constitution, which under Article 11 defends every Malaysian citizen’s right to freedom of religion. Freedom of religion is a right of every citizen of Malaysia and enshrined in our Constitution. As such, it is our duty to honour these rights equally and fairly, without regard to race or religion. Where our legal system provides for the right of conversion, it should not be the case that in reality the practice of these rights are denied, or made nearly impossible, to certain religions or race. Protecting the sanctity of our Constitution and the law, and acting in the interest of our country and its people, do not conflict with the principles of Islam as Islam is a religion of compassion and tolerance. The Qur’an is clear and consistent in its recognition of the freedom of religion. Surah al-Baqarah (2:256), “Let there be no compulsion in religion” has been widely interpreted to mean that no one can be compelled to embrace Islam. Surah an-Nisa (4:137), which reads, “Indeed, those who have believed then disbelieved, then believed, then disbelieved, and then increased in disbelief - never will Allah forgive them, nor will He guide them to a way,” shows Islam’s acceptance of freedom of religion with no punishment mentioned for anyone converting out of Islam. SIS welcomes the judgment by Datuk Yew Jen Kie allowing Rooney Rebit to change his religion from Islam to Christianity, because faith cannot be imposed through enforcement. Instead, faith is contingent upon free will. Islam itself means submission to the will of God – not the will of men. This judgment is a reminder to all Malaysians of their right to practice their faith without coercion from the state.

Sisters in Islam 28 March 2016

Menuntut cerai melalui fasakh

Go to : Legal Services > Legal Column > Perceraian << Back

Soalan dipetik daripada MyMetro: Saya sudah berkahwin selama 15 tahun dan bergelar isteri kedua. Saya ingin menuntut fasakh kerana perangai suami yang sering memukul saya setiap kali berlaku pertengkaran. Saya juga menanggung nafkah zahir selama perkahwinan ini termasuk kos bersalin empat anak, yuran sekolah malah persiapan hari raya. Suami cuma lepas tangan dalam tanggungjawab ini. Meskipun dia mempunyai tiga anak dengan isteri pertama, ia bukan lesen kepada dia untuk menafikan hak anak saya. Masalahnya perkahwinan ini dilakukan di Thailand dan tidak didaftarkan di Malaysia. Apakah proses untuk saya membatalkan perkahwinan ini? Bagi saya, perkahwinan ini adalah seksaan fizikal dan mental sedangkan suami seharusnya melaksanakan tanggungjawab sebagai ketua keluarga. Saya perlu menyelesaikan masalah ini mengikut undang-undang supaya kepentingan anak pada masa depan terpelihara. Lina Kuala Lumpur

Jawapan: Assalamualaikum Puan Lina, Merujuk kepada persoalan Puan, sebelum Puan boleh memfailkan perceraian di Mahkamah, terlebih dahulu Puan perlu mengesahkan dan mendaftarkan perkahwinan tersebut supaya diiktiraf sebagai pasangan yang telah berkahwin di bawah undang-undang Syariah di Malaysia. Ini juga bermaksud agar Puan boleh menuntut hak-hak Puan sebagai isteri, dan juga anak-anak yang lahir daripada perkahwinan tersebut. Perkahwinan Tidak Berdaftar Memang benar ada kalanya perkahwinan yang dilakukan di Thailand atau sempadannya, boleh jadi tidak sah oleh kerana sindiket, atas alasan ia tidak mematuhi rukun-rukun perkahwinan seperti yang dituntut oleh Hukum Syarak. Untuk mengetahui sama ada akad nikah tersebut saha atau sebaliknya, hanya Mahkamah Syariah yang mempunyai bidangkuasa tersebut. Oleh itu kami nasihatkan agar Puan ke Mahkamah Syariah berhampiran tempat tinggal Puan dan membuat permohonan pengesahan pernikahan. Mahkamah Syariah akan membuat siasatan berdasarkan bukti-bukti yang dibawa sama ada perkahwinan tersebut adalah sah menurut Hukum Syarak. Apabila Mahkamah menentukan bahawa ianya sah, maka seterusnya Puan boleh terus memfailkan fasakh di Mahkamah Syariah. Perceraian Secara Fasakh Fasakh merupakan salah satu hak seorang wanita untuk menuntut perceraian melalui permohonan kepada Mahkamah untuk membubarkan perkahwinan tersebut. Ini bukan sahaja termaktub di dalam Hukum Syarak, bahkan undang-undang keluarga Islam di Malaysia. Fasakh nikah disyariatkan untuk membendung mudarat yang menimpa ke atas isteri. Dalam situasi Puan, Puan mendakwa bahawa Puan seringkali dikasari, bahkan nafkah yang sewajarnya jadi tanggungjawab bapa/suami diabaikan, mengakibatkan mudarat kepada Puan dan juga anak-anak. Bagi mereka yang bermastautin di Wilayah Persekutuan, Akta Undang-undang Keluarga Islam (Wilayah-wilayah Persekutuan) 1984 adalah dirujuk, dan fasakh diperuntukkan di bawah seksyen 52(1). Di bawah seksyen tersebut, terdapat pelbagai alasanalasan yang boleh dijadikan asbab kepada permohonan perceraian fasakh itu. Berdasarkan kepada situasi Puan, antara alasan-alasan yang bersangkut-paut adalah: (b) bahawa suami telah cuai atau telah tidak mengadakan peruntukan bagi nafkahnya selama tempoh tiga bulan; (h) bahawa suami menganiayainya, iaitu, antara lain— (i) lazim menyakiti atau menjadikan kehidupannya menderita disebabkan oleh kelakuan aniaya; (vi) jika dia mempunyai isteri lebih daripada seorang, dia tidak melayani isteri yang berkenaan secara adil mengikut kehendak Hukum Syarak; Maka, daripada alasan-alasan tersebut, Puan layak mengemukakannya dengan memberi bukti yang sesuai bagi menguatkan dakwaan di Mahkamah. Seandainya Mahkamah yakin dan mendapati bahawa tuntutan Puan adalah benar, maka Mahkamah akan membubarkan perkahwinan tersebut tanpa persetujuan suami atau kehadirannya di Mahkamah. Apabila Puan memfailkan perceraian fasakh di Mahkamah kelak, kami mencadangkan agar Puan turut menuntut beberapa perkara termasuklah nafkah iddah, nafkah isteri, nafkah isteri tertunggak, nafkah anak-anak, hak penjagaan, harta sepencarian dan sebagainya. Perbuatan Memukul Isteri Sesungguhnya Islam amat melarang perbuatan menzalimi wanita sebagaimana firman Allah SWT di dalam sebahagian surah al-Baqarah ayat 231 yang bermaksud: “….dan janganlah kalian pegang mereka (isteri) dengan maksud memberi mudarat kerana kami hendak melakukan kezaliman terhadap mereka….” Sebagaimana yang Puan nyatakan, untuk makluman, sebarang perbuatan memukul atau mendera isteri sama ada secara fizikal, mental, psikologi, kewangan, dan sosial adalah satu kesalahan di bawah Akta Keganasan Rumahtangga 1994 yang mana suami boleh dijatuhkan hukuman penjara jika didapati telah mencederakan isteri. Jika Puan ada membuat laporan polis dan juga mendapatkan laporan di hospital, ia bukan sahaja boleh menjadi bukti bagi kes fasakh Puan, malah Puan boleh menggunakannya untuk mendapatkan IPO (Perintah Perlindungan Sementara). Perintah tersebut akan menghalang suami daripada terus mendekati dan mengasari Puan, sehingga siasatan jenayah terhadapnya selesai dijalankan. Perbuatan Suami yang Tidak Bertanggungjawab Berpoligami bukanlah satu alasan yang boleh dipergunakan untuk mengabaikan tanggungjawab sebagai seorang suami dan juga bapa. Seseorang suami yang telah gagal memenuhi tanggungjawabnya terhadap isteri menurut Hukum Syarak adalah berbuat dosa dan nusyuz. Jika isterinya tidak redha maka isteri berhak untuk memohon cerai. Isteri dan anak-anak merupakan satu tanggungjawab yang telah diamanahkan oleh Allah SWT. Dia berhak mendapat perlindungan serta keperluan hidup dan nafkah yang mencukupi daripada suaminya. Ini dapat dilihat dengan jelas melalui hadith yang diriwayatkan oleh Bukhari dan Ashaba Al-Sunan yang bermaksud: Hindun, isteri Abu Sufian telah mengadu kepada Rasulullah bahawa suaminya tidak memberi nafkah yang cukup kepadanya dan anak-anaknya. Lalu Rasulullah memerintahkan Hindun mengambil dari harta Abu Sufian bahagian untuk nafkahnya dan anak-anaknya dengan sebaik-baiknya. Berdasarkan hadis ini jelaslah bahawa suami wajib menyediakan nafkah terhadap isteri dan jika suami enggan dengan sengaja, cuai ataupun nafkah yang diberi tidak mencukupi maka seorang isteri berhak mengambil harta suaminya sebagai nafkah buat isteri dan anak-anaknya. Diharap penjelasan kami dapat membantu Puan. Sekiranya puan mempunyai sebarang kemusykilan atau pertanyaan, puan boleh menghubungi kami semula di talian Telenisa 03-7690 8802 pada setiap hari Selasa, Rabu dan Khamis dari jam 10.00 pagi – 5.00 petang. Sekian. Ikhlas, Klinik Telenisa Sisters In Islam

Sinar Harian: Seksyen 66A Tidak Beri Kesan Terhadap Semakan Kehakiman (9 Mac 2016) Go to : Media > Media Statements << Back KUALA LUMPUR - Kedua-dua pihak dalam permohonan semakan kehakiman Sisters In Islam (SIS) untuk mencabar fatwa Selangor melabelkan pertubuhan itu sebagai "sesat dan menyeleweng", bersetuju bahawa pindaan Seksyen 66A Enakmen Pentadbiran Agama Islam (Negeri Selangor) 2003 tidak memberi kesan dalam kes itu. Seksyen itu yang berkuat kuasa pada 22 Mei, 2015, memberi kuasa kepada Mahkamah Tinggi Syariah di Selangor untuk mendengar permohonan semakan kehakiman. Peguam Majdah Muda, mewakili Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (Mais), memberitahu pemberita, kedua-dua pihak bersetuju bahawa Seksyen 66A tidak relevan dan tidak terpakai bagi kes itu kerana seksyen itu berkuat kuasa dari 22 Mei 2015, tetapi permohonan semakan kehakiman itu difailkan pada 31 Okt 2014. "Dengan perkembangan ini, mahkamah menetapkan 24 Jun untuk mendengar permohonan semakan kehakiman itu dan lima isu akan dibangkitkan semasa pendengaran termasuk sama ada fatwa itu bercanggah dengan Perlembagaan Persekutuan," katanya selepas berjumpa Hakim Mahkamah Tinggi Datuk Hanipah Farikullah di dalam kamar hari ini. Peguam A. Surendra yang mewakili SIS dan pengasasnya Zainah Mahfoozah Anwar serta bekas Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim turut hadir pada prosiding itu. SIS pada 24 Februari 2016, telah membangkitkan isu sama ada Seksyen 66A mempunyai sebarang kesan terhadap permohonannya bagi semakan kehakiman dan hari ini kedua-dua pihak bersetuju ia tidak memberi kesan dalam kes itu. Pada 10 Disember 2014, SIS, Zainah dan Mohd Zaid memperoleh kebenaran daripada Mahkamah Tinggi untuk memulakan semakan kehakiman itu. SIS Forum (Malaysia) telah memfailkan permohonan semakan kehakiman untuk mencabar keputusan Mais mengisytiharkan pertubuhan itu sebagai sesat dan menyeleweng daripada ajaran Islam dan menamakan Jawatankuasa Fatwa Selangor, Mais dan kerajaan Selangor sebagai responden. Mereka memohon perintah certiorari untuk membatalkan keputusan Jawatankusa Fatwa Selangor dan MAIS yang menyatakan pertubuhan itu dan mana-mana individu serta kumpulan yang berpegang dengan fahaman liberalisme dan pluralisme agama sebagai 'sesat dan menyeleweng daripada ajaran Islam". Pihak pemohon juga memohon pengisytiharan bahawa keputusan Jawatankuasa Fatwa Selangor dan Mais, melalui fatwa itu, yang mengarahkan sekatan dibuat ke atas laman-laman sosial yang bertentangan dengan ajaran Islam adalah bercanggah dengan Seksyen 3 (3) Akta Komunikasi dan Multimedia 1998. Mereka antara lain memohon pengisytiharan iaitu keputusan Jawatankuasa Fatwa Selangor dan MAIS adalah ultra vires (melampaui batasan undang-undang) Perkara 10, 11, 74 dan Jadual Kesembilan Senarai I dan II Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Mereka juga memohon pengisytiharan bahawa SIS, ditubuhkan di bawah Akta Syarikat 1965 sebagai sebuah syarikat berhad secara jaminan, tidak tertakluk kepada keputusan Jawatankuasa Fatwa Selangor dan Mais. http://www.sinarharian.com.my/semasa/seksyen-66a-tidak-beri-kesan-terhadap-semakan-kehakiman-1.495231

Bernama: Section 66A Has No Effect on SIS Judicial Review (9 March 2016) Go to : Media > Media Statements << Back KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 (Bernama) -- Both parties in the Sisters In Islam (SIS) judicial review application to challenge a Selangor fatwa (edict) labelling the society as "deviant", have agreed that the newly amended Section 66A of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003 has no effect on the case. The section, which came into force on May 22, 2015, empowers the Syariah High Court in Selangor to hear judicial review applications. Lawyer Majdah Muda, representing the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS), told reporters that both parties agreed Section 66A had no relevancy and not applicable for this case as the section was effective from May 22, 2015, but the judicial review was filed on Oct 31, 2014. "With this development, the court fixed June 24 to hear the judicial review application and five issues will be raised during the hearing including whether the fatwa contravenes the Federal Constitution," she said after meeting High Court Judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah in chambers today. Lawyer A. Surendra, acting for SIS and its founder Zainah Mahfoozah Anwar and former Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, was also present during the proceedings. SIS had on Feb 24, 2016, raised the issue whether the Section 66A had any impact on its judicial review application and today both parties agreed that the section had no effect on the case. On Dec 10, 2014, SIS, Zainah and Mohd Zaid obtained leave from the High Court to commence the judicial review. SIS Forum (Malaysia) had filed the judicial review to challenge MAIS decision declaring the organisation as deviating from Islamic teachings and named the Selangor Fatwa Committee, MAIS and the Selangor government as respondents. They are seeking a certiorari order to quash the decision of the Selangor Fatwa Committee and MAIS which stated that the organisation and any individuals as well as groups which adopt the deviant ideologies of liberalism and pluralism were deviating from the teachings of Islam. The applicants are also seeking a declaration that the decision of the Selangor Fatwa Committee and MAIS in directing, through the edict, the Multimedia and Communications Commission to block social websites that went against Islamic teachings contradicted Section 3 (3) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. They, among others, applied for a declaration that the decision of the Selangor Fatwa Committee and MAIS was ultra vires Article 10, 11, 74 and the Ninth Schedule List I and II of the Federal Constitution. They are also seeking a declaration that SIS, which was formed under the Companies Act 1965 as a company limited by guarantee, was not subject to the decisions of the Selangor Fatwa Committee and MAIS. http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v8/ge/newsgeneral.php?id=1223491 Go to page << 9

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