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Vague definition of ‘tauliah’ allows for abuse, says academic

 | October 22, 2017

Universiti Malaya lecturer Azmi Sharom says that was why prominent Turkish author Mustafa Akyol was hauled up recently.

Azmi-Sharom-akyolKUALA LUMPUR: Law professor Azmi Sharom today said religious authorities should clearly define “tauliah”, or teaching credentials, a requirement under shariah enactments that led to the arrest of prominent Turkish journalist Mustafa Akyol at the end of his Malaysian lecture tour recently.

The Universiti Malaya academic said the term was vague and would lead to more problems in discussing matters related to Islam, including the push for stiffer penalties under shariah.

He said Akyol’s arrest by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) last month showed how the law on “tauliah” could be abused.

Akyol was arrested by Jawi over a speech at a roundtable discussion in Kuala Lumpur, where he spoke about Islam and apostasy.

The Turkish intellectual and New York Times columnist was detained for 18 hours for an offence of “teaching Islam without credentials”. Akyol had defended himself, saying he was neither an imam, nor did he deliver a religious sermon.

Azmi agreed, saying Akyol merely discussed religion from a socio-economic context.

“If you need a tauliah for that, it’s going to open all the doors to other things. How about discussing Islam and the law, like RUU 355?” Azmi asked at a forum organised by Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) today.

RUU 355 refers to the private member’s bill mooted by PAS to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, which seeks to increase the penalties for certain shariah offences.

Azmi said as a law lecturer, he too had the right to discuss RUU 355.

“But would I need a ‘tauliah’ to do so?” he asked, adding that the term was “open to abuse” without a proper definition.


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