30 May 2014
The implementation of hudud laws has ramifications on inter-religious relations due to misperceptions that may arise about Islam. It is also potentially divisive. Hudud punishments are only practicable if onerous preconditions are fulfilled to ensure that tolerance, justice and clemency which are central to Islamic laws will not be sacrificed.
There is a raging debate on the implementation of hudud or the Islamic criminal code in the region. 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 such laws apply to a non-Muslim who is an accomplice in a crime by a Muslim?
Social media is rife with emotionally charged opinions. The pressure group, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA or Muslim Fellowship of Malaysia), has questioned the citizenship status of non-Muslims who are unhappy with hudud laws. Senior clerics, like the former Mufti of Perlis, Dr Asri Zainal Abidin, have taken the position that non-Muslims should be included. Social activists lament the injustice if a non-Muslim receives a lighter sentence under civil laws compared with a heavier one for the Muslim under hudud laws for the same offence.
… Mohammad Alami Musa is Head of Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP) Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.
RSIS / SRP / Online
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