Malaysia to host international conference on caning of women

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Kuala Lumpur, Feb 23(ANI): An international conference on comparative studies by Muslim nations on whether it is the norm for Muslim women to be caned for an offence under the Shariah law will be held in Malaysia.

Malaysian Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil hoped the conference could be held in three months to address the issue.

"I will bring this up with the Cabinet as soon as possible," The Star quoted Jalil, as saying.

She said the ministry will organize the conference through the Secretariat for the Defence and Empowerment of Women, adding that Ulamas and NGOs would also have their forums at the conference.

The initiative for the caning comes after caning of three Malaysian women, who were found guilty of committing illicit sex in violation of Shariah law, 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.

Several organizations in Malaysia, including Sisters in Islam (SIS) had earlier said the three cases constituted further discrimination against Muslim women in Malaysia.

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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