28 May 2014
A DEBATE on the implementation of hudud laws is raging in neighbouring countries. One issue that has received much attention is the impact on non-Muslims. Will they be subjected to hudud laws? Even if they are not, will there be exceptions made in cases where a non-Muslim commits a crime together with a Muslim?
Social media is rife with emotionally charged opinions. The racial and religious pressure group, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Muslim Fellowship of Malaysia), has questioned the citizenship status of non-Muslims who are unhappy with hudud laws.
Senior clerics like the fair-minded former Mufti of Perlis, Dr Asri Zainal Abidin, have surprisingly taken the position that non-Muslims should be included. Social activists lament the injustice that would be done if a non-Muslim received a lighter sentence under civil law compared with a heavier one imposed on a Muslim under hudud law for the same offence.
Non-Muslims are generally very anxious. The hudud issue has the potential to divide society deeply. It will have a profound impact on inter-religious relations. Singapore’s religious harmony may even be affected by the spillover effects. This is particularly so if the issue gives rise to gross misperceptions about Islam and becomes a wedge in relations between Muslims and non-Muslims.
RSIS / SRP / Print
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