Federal Court's decision against syariah law not insulting Islam - Sisters in Islam

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Federal Court's decision against syariah law not insulting Islam - Sisters in Islam
Federal Court's decision against syariah law not insulting Islam - Sisters in Islam

Yesterday's decision by the Federal Court - which found a provision in Selangor Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment that criminalises unnatural sex as invalid - was not an insult to Islam, said Sisters in Islam (SIS).

In a statement today, the group said the decision had instead clarified the process of enacting laws in the country, especially syariah laws.

"SIS welcomes the court's decision yesterday that declared Section 28 of the enactment as unconstitutional and established that the power to enact a criminal law is in the hands of the parliament, and not state legislative assemblies.

"This decision is not seen as insulting Islam or undermining Muslims, religious institutions and the Council of Rulers. On the contrary, this decision clarifies the process of enacting laws, especially syariah laws which are seen as contradictory to the spirit of federalism as stipulated in the Federal Constitution as the highest law in the country," said the statement.

A nine-person bench of the Federal Court led by Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat in a unanimous decision yesterday struck down the provision of the Selangor syariah law that criminalises "unnatural sex".

This was on the grounds that the matter falls under the jurisdiction of federal and not state laws.

The state syariah provision makes it an offence for Muslims in Selangor to perform "sexual intercourse against the order of nature".

SIS said that the ruling is also significant to the LGBTQ community in the country, who are still being rejected by the public and "subjected to abuse of power by many parties including the religious authorities and other authority bodies".

"Islamic laws that are enacted by any government in any country, including Malaysia, are not divine. The religious laws that exist in states in Malaysia came from human understanding and interpretation of the Quran, which were then made into laws through the legislative process in the state assemblies.

"Any changes, amendments, or reviews made on Islamic laws do not mean that Islam is being ridiculed," SIS said.