Shariah caning sentence for three Malay women whips up global reaction

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Kuala Lumpur, Feb 21(ANI): The caning of three Malaysian women, who were found guilty of committing illicit sex in violation of Shariah law, has caught immediate international reaction and interest, with a number of foreign media running articles and commentary on the issue.

The 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 rapid growth of Malaysia's shariah court system in recent years is threatening to undermine the country's reputation as a tolerant, progressive Muslim nation that has been able to attract sizable foreign investments," The Wall Street Journal quoted political analysts, as saying.

In the article 'Malaysia Says Muslim Women Caned', Wall Street Journal's writer James Hookway wrote: "The move to cane the women under the country's Islamic shariah laws has raised fresh concerns about the growing political and judicial influence of Islam in what traditionally has been one of the world's more moderate Muslim nations."

Earlier, several organizations in Malaysia, including Sisters in Islam (SIS) had said that 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," said Dr Hamidah Marican, SIS executive director.

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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