PETALING JAYA: Several Muslim scholars have denounced Tasek Gelugor MP Shabudin Yahaya for making statements implying that it is consistent with Islamic culture to excuse a rape through the marriage of the perpetrator and his victim.
International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) lecturer Rashid Moten said permitting such a marriage to settle the crime would be unfair to the victim, at whose expense the rapist would seem to be rewarded with further gratification.
“Psychologically, the victim would be traumatised by what happened to her,” he said. “How can she be happy in the marriage after she’s been violated?”
He said allowing such a marriage would be offensive not just to Islam, but to any civilisation.
He reminded Shabudin that Islam viewed marriage as a sacred institution and it was therefore wrong of him treat it lightly.
“Marriage is a serious matter and the physical and psychological state of the girl should be considered in deciding whether she is fit to marry,” he said.
On Tuesday, Shabudin was reported to have said in the Dewan Rakyat that there was nothing wrong with marrying off a girl to her rapist.
The former Penang State Islamic Council president reportedly said that it would be good for the girl as she would otherwise face a bleak future.
He also said some 16-year-old girls had “wild lifestyles” and their families found it hard to control them.
However, in a statement yesterday, Shabudin said he had been quoted out of context.
He said he was stressing that there was no provision in Islamic law that stopped underaged victims from getting married. He also said the child could not be married off by her guardian without the permission of the shariah court.
Che Amnah Bahari, another scholar from IIUM, said the assertion that such a marriage was acceptable was contradictory to the Islamic teaching that exhorts believers to avoid situations that could lead to sin.
However, she conceded to the possibility of mutual consent between the two parties. In such a case, she said, a marriage could be allowed.
“If the rapist asks for forgiveness and is sincerely repentant, and if the victim forgives him and consents to the marriage, then that is a different story,” she said.
Ikram Malaysia vice president Zaid Kamaruddin said rape was intolerable in Islam and the rapist should be convicted.
“It’s a clear-cut issue,” he said. “The rapist must be held accountable for the crime. No compromise should be allowed.”
Shabudin made his controversial remarks during the debate on the Child Sexual Crime Bill after an opposition MP suggested that it include a provision to criminalise child marriages.
Last August, the Kuching Sessions Court discharged but did not acquit a 28-year-old man accused of raping a 14-year-old girl twice. The court made the decision after it admitted evidence that he had married the victim.
However, the High Court subsequently reinstated the statutory rape charge.