Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Proposal to punish non-Muslims for khalwat

Proposal to punish non-Muslims for khalwat
By IZATUN SHARI (The Star - 2rd April 2008)

KUALA LUMPUR: Non-Muslims committing khalwat (close proximity) with Muslims should also be held liable for the crime, two Islamic bodies have proposed in a resolution to be sent to the Attorney-General's Chambers.

The Islamic Institute of Understanding Malaysia (Ikim) and Syariah Judiciary Department Malaysia said non-Muslims found committing khalwat with Muslims should also be sentenced, perhaps in the civil courts.

"Muslims are sentenced in Syariah courts ... but we don't have the jurisdiction to sentence non-Muslims," Syariah Court of Appeal Judge Datuk Mohd Asri Abdullah said at a seminar on reviewing Syariah laws organised by Ikim and the department.

"Their non-Muslim partners can probably be sentenced in the civil courts, to be fair to both parties," he told reporters after closing the two-day seminar on Wednesday.

He said the proposal, contained in a draft resolution from the seminar's findings, would be forwarded to the Attorney-General's Chambers (AG's Chambers).

"It is up to the AG's Chambers or the relevant authorities to decide how to create such law," he said, declining to say when the proposal would be made to the Government.

The two bodies have also proposed stiffer penalties for Muslims caught in such offences as khalwat, prostitution, alcohol consumption and gambling.

My response:
- From the moral aspect, it seems to be a good idea. Sin is crouching near the couple who loves to be in secluded places. Desires or lust to be exact finds more opportunities to rear its ugly head in dark quiet places. However, I am against the idea of the giving the responsibility of enforcing moral obligation into the hands of the government. Moral issues should not be govern by the government but it should rest with the parents, and religious institutions. There is a danger of giving the government agencies the power of enforcement as abuses of power will definitely become rampant.
- The suggestion itself indirectly indicate that the two islamic bodies wants to enforce its beliefs upon the non-muslim people. It is a subtle way of doing it. And the gist of it is that it is trying to encroach on the freedom of others. Why should there be punishment for something that is not wrong in a person's religious beliefs? It should not be.
- Punishment should be in the hands of God. Why should human enact laws that punishes people when first and foremost the wrongdoing is unto God, then to others, and to society.
- The two islamic bodies should not focus on this issue but should spend more time thinking about how to educate and instill good religious beliefs among the muslims themselves. Why think about the non-muslims when they can't even take care of the muslims?
- Stiffer penalties does not help much to reduce the wrongdoings. They must find ways to find the root of the problem and deal with it accordingly. Death by hanging for drug traffickers does not help much in eradicating drug problems in Malaysia. In fact the drug problems have become worse.

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