In its article, “Khalwat Raids Make Malaysia Tougher Than Saudi Arabia”, Free Malaysia Today (FMT) wrote:
The way Malaysian religious authorities are policing khalwat (close proximity) is beyond anything in Saudi Arabia or other Gulf States today, warns a leading NGO. – FMT
FMT was reporting on comments made by G25 adviser Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Kassim, “in response to the recent death and injuries of two policemen who jumped from buildings to escape raids by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais).”
Birds of a feather flock together, like the G25’s spokesperson Dato Noor Farida Ariffin, Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Kassim is also against khalwat raids.
Below are my answers (in blue) to FMT’s article (in red) regarding this issue.
G25 adviser Mohd Sheriff Kassim points out that even Saudi Arabia, the country which is home to Islam’s holiest site, has issued stern guidelines to limit the powers of the moral police to harass and arrest Muslims.
“The instruction is that the moral police should not take the law into their own hands and instead, it should advise those committing offences under the morality laws to change and repent,” he said In a statement today.
I cannot comment on the laws of Saudi Arabia because
I have not studied the laws of the country
I respect and do not want to interfere with the laws of the land.
But even if it is true that they do not implement such laws, as a sovereign country, we have our own constitutional rights to implement our own laws.
Anyway, if G25 adviser thinks that Saudi Arabia is doing a better job in dealing with Syariah offences, then G25 must fight for our country to follow the laws of Saudi Arabia, which means implementing the Hudud laws in our country.
His comments were in response to the recent death and injuries of two policemen who jumped from buildings to escape raids by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais).
As policemen, they must know the laws and their rights, so if they chose to jump from the building in order to escape,the fault is theirs and it is not JAIS’ fault.
Would G25 blame the police if a burglar chose to jump from a building in order to avoid being arrested by the policemen who are carrying their duties?
Just two months ago, Jais introduced a mobile phone app, called “Hotline Jais”, for people to report religious offences, including khalwat.
It is a good move by JAIS to use updated technology so that it is easier for the public to report religious offences in order for us to take care of our Muslim community.
Sheriff added that Malays who visited or lived in Arab states have not come across any country where so-called moral police raid private homes.
If we must follow the laws of Saudi Arabia, we must change our Federal Constitution and implement the Hudud laws.
He also pointed out that some ulama consider khalwat raids un-Islamic as it gave the impression that the religion used only punishment to uphold morals.
Khalwat raid is one of the ways to prevent the religious offence of khalwat and the Islamic authorities have theirStandard Operating Procedure that must be followed by their enforcement officers conducting the raids, only liberal ‘ulama’ would declare that our khalwat raids are un-Islamic; not the real ulama of Ahli As-Sunnah Wa Al-Jamaah.
Khalwat raids also tended to target the lower-income group as the “rich and powerful” had more resources to “get away with bigger sins”. Sheriff noted that khalwat laws could be easily exploited by a person’s enemies to “settle a score”.
G25 adviser has made a very serious allegation which I hope he has the proves to support it, and it is the duty of G25 to make police reports as soon as possible regarding this matter.
“Our authorities should learn from the failed experience of dictatorial regimes which criminalised personal thoughts and behaviour to discourage individualism and promote mass obedience to the state ideology,” he said.
What does khalwat raid have to do with “dictatorial regimes which criminalised personal thoughts and behaviour to discourage individualism and promote mass obedience to the state ideology”?
Islamic matters are not political matters and it is stated clearly in our Federal Constitution that the YDP Agong and the Royal Rulers are the Head of Islam, so the above statement is a malicious distortion of the truth and a humiliation to the Royal Rulers.
Article 3(2) of the Federal Constitution:
In every State other than States not having a Ruler the position of the Ruler as the Head of the religion of Islam in his State in the manner and to the extent acknowledged and declared by the Constitution of that State, and, subject to that Constitution, all rights, privileges, prerogatives and powers enjoyed by him as Head of that religion, are unaffected and unimpaired; but in any acts, observances or ceremonies with respect to which the Conference of Rulers has agreed that they should extend to the Federation as a whole each of the other Rulers shall in his capacity of Head of the religion of Islam authorize the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to represent him.
Article 3(3) of the Federal Constitution:
The Constitution of the States of Malacca, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak shall each make provision for conferring on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong the position of Head of the religion of Islam in that State.
Since G25 wants us to follow Saudi Arabia, G25 members must start fighting for our country to implement Hudud.
It is very interesting to see that MMO retracted the article a day after the ruling by the Federal Court on the case of Azmi Sharom challenging the constitutionality of the Sedition Act.
Any way MMO is defending the writer:
“The writer wishes to point out that she is aware of the sensitivities in Malaysia regarding the topic of religion. She has no intention of insulting Islam.”
I do not understand how could MMO wrote that the writer has no intention of insulting Islam.
In the article which was deleted by MMO on October 7, not only did the writer insult Islam but she took the liberty to interpret the Islamic law in her own way when she is not even a Muslim.
“In Ezra Zaid’s case, Muslims, like other Malaysians, may have freedom of expression, but there are a string of state laws, as empowered by Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution, that do not allow Muslims to publish books that are deemed unIslamic.” – MMO.
By saying that “there are a string of state laws, as empowered by Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution, that do not allow Muslims to publish books that are deemed unIslamic”, she is questioning the decision made by MAIWP and JAIS as the religious authorities that Irshad Manji’s Allah, Liberty and Love is contrary to the Islamic law.
The writer also wrote:
“Who decides whether a particular book is “unIslamic”? That would be the state religious departments.” – MMO.
What right has a person of another religion to question and interfere in matters regarding Islam, the religion of the Federation?
Of course, it must be the Islamic religious departments that decide on matters regarding Islam and not a person of another religion like the writer.
Boo Su Lyn also wrote that:
“It’s unclear if the Selangor Islamic Religious Department or the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department (in Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz’s case involving the same book), had actually read Allah, Liberty and Love, or if the religious authorities merely opposed the book simply because the Canadian author Manji is a lesbian.”- MMO.
What a malicious statement!
Is Boo Su Lyn saying that she understands Islam better than MAIWP and JAIS and that the Islamic authorities are unprofessional in doing their duties?
Furthermore, is the writer trying to violate the Article 11(3)(a) of the Federal Constitution by interfering into the rights of the Muslim authorities to manage its own religious affairs?
Article 11(3)(a) states:
Every religious group has the right— to manage its own religious affairs
In its Apology and Retraction article, MMO did not even mention that Boo Su Lyn made a public statement against Section 3(1)(f) of the Sedition Act which restricts anyone to question the four sensitive issues of the Federal Constitution.
Boo Su Lyn wrote that Article 10(4) that prohibits a person from questioning Part III (citizenship), Article 152 (national language), Article 153 (special position of the Malays and of Sabah and Sarawak natives) and Article 181 (rulers’ sovereignty) should also be abolished so that there can be public discussion on what she wrote as “these so-called “sensitive” issues.”
“A “seditious tendency” is a tendency— to question any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of Part III of the Federal Constitution or Article 152, 153 or 181 of the Federal Constitution.”
She even questions Article 153 that against Section 3(1)(f) of the Sedition Act by writing:
“It also allows state-sanctioned discrimination against minority groups, with no avenue for victims to seek redress as they’re not even supposed to question the so-called “sensitive” matter of Malay privileges.” – MMO.
Apart from condemning and calling for the Article 10(4) to be abolished, Boo Su Lyn did the same to the Article 11(4) when it has nothing to do with her and the fact that she has no rights to interfere in the matters of Islam (Article 11(3)(a)).
Without Article 11(4), the Rulers cannot ‘restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam’.
“State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.”
By calling for the Article 11(4) to be abolished, Boo Su Lyn is also challenging the Article 3(1) fordisrupting “peace and harmony” of the relationship betweenthe Muslims and people practicing other religions.
A very senior lawyer, Professor Dato’ Naser Disa explains that the words, “other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation” means that people from other religions must practise their religions in peace and harmony with others from different religions especially Islam, which is the religion of the Federation of Malaysia.
In the ruling of the case of Kalimah Allah, the Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali wrote that:
“It is my judgment that the purpose and intention of the 29 insertion of the words: “in peace and harmony” in Article 3(1) is to protect the sanctity of Islam as the religion of the country and also to insulate against any threat faced or any possible and probable threat to the religion of Islam. . It is also my judgment that the most possible and probable threat to Islam, in the context of this country, is the propagation of other religion to the followers of Islam. That is the very reason as to why Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution came into place.”
It is unconstitutional for Boo Su Lyn to write untrue and seditious statements about Articles 10(4) and 11(4) to justify her call for the Articles to be removed and a person who questions the four sensitive issues mentioned under Article 10(4) can be charged under Section 3(1)(f) of the Sedition Act.
However, regarding the malicious article, MMO wrote:
“Malay Mail Online also has no intention of insulting Islam or any religion, and is withdrawing the said article and apologising in the hopes of avoiding any such perception.”
So, we can clearly see that:
MMO does not think that the seditious and malicious content of article is wrong.
It is not wrong for a non-Muslims to take the liberty to interpret Islam the way they wish and to interfere in the Islamic matters.
It is not seditious to question Article 153 and the other sensitive issues protected by Article 10(4) .
MMO did not apologise and withdrawing the article because it is wrong and seditious.
MMO took the action only because, “in the hopes of avoiding any such perception.”
MMO is actually supporting Boo Su Lyn’s article that maliciously insulting Islam and the Islamic authorities and condemning Article 10(4), and saying that she is right.
It is the readers with “such perception” who wrongly think that the article insults Islam.
My conclusion is, MMO and the writer find there is nothing wrong with the article that not only insult and humiliate Islam but has gone against Articles 3(1), 10(4), 11(3)(a), 11(4) and 153 of the Federal Constitution and Section 3(1)(f) of the Sedition Act.
The Sedition Act must be used to stop people from challenging the law and the Federal Constitution and to protect the peace and harmony of our beloved country.