Shariah caning sentence for women must be fair and just: Malaysian Minister

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Kuala Lumpur, Feb 19(ANI): Malaysian Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil has said that every punishment meted out to Muslim women must be fair and just.

The comment came after three women were sentenced to be whipped under Section 23(2) of the Federal Territory Shariah Criminal Offences Act 1997 (Illicit Sex) for engaging in illicit sex.

"The ministry takes note of the caning of the three women on February 9. While no Muslim can deny the wisdom behind shariah jurisprudence, the issue of the implementation of shariah clearly lacks input from Muslim women who are stakeholders in Islamic jurisprudence," The Daily Star quoted Shahrizat, as saying.

The Minister said she would ensure that the recently-established Secretariat of Advocacy and Empowerment of Muslim Women worked together with relevant government agencies, to oversee such cases in order to avoid any potential confusion or misunderstanding regarding the sanctity of Islamic laws and the rehabilitative effects these punishments have.

Meanwhile, the Association of Muslim Lawyers president Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said the shariah caning was like "a father or teacher caning a child who had done wrong."

However, Sisters in Islam (SIS) executive director Dr Hamidah Marican said the three cases constituted further discrimination against Muslim women in Malaysia.

"The expediency and the secrecy reeks of bad faith and betrays a troubling disregard for public opinion," Dr. Marican said.

Bar Council chairman Ragunath Kesavan urged the Government to abolish whipping and to comply with international norms and principles on it. (ANI)

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