‘UnIslamic to sneak Shariah punishments into legal system’


KUALA LUMPUR: Trying to “sneak Shariah punishments” into the legal system without open debate and a comprehensive understanding on the implications is “unIslamic”, says an Islamic scholar.

“You don’t see it, you don’t feel it. Yet one day, you’ll just wake up and find yourself in a much more Islamic state than you ever imagined,” Professor Abdullahi A An-Na’im said at a press interview organised by G25 at a hotel here today.

“If you want to do it, do it openly with a clear understanding where people can debate, accept or reject freely,” he added.

Abdullahi said this in response to PAS’ Private Member’s Bill which seeks to empower the Shariah Court to impose any form of hudud punishment under Islamic law, except the death penalty.

He said this was strange when hudud does indeed prescribe the death penalty and wondered if the exclusion of the death penalty was based on PAS’ definition of hudud.

“So you are redefining hudud from the way it exists for your own political expediency,” the Sudanese-born scholar from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, said.

In some parts of the Middle East which implement hudud laws, the death sentence is handed down to those convicted of adultery and apostasy, among others.

PAS is currently pushing for hudud to be implemented in Kelantan. Its president Abdul Hadi Awang has tabled a bill seeking to amend the powers of the Shariah court which would pave the way for the controversial law to be implemented in the East Coast state.