‘Rapists should be treated like criminals’

Ismail-Yahya-1

KUALA LUMPUR: An ex-syarie judge has criticised shariah judges who allow rapists to marry their victims, saying they were choosing which Islamic laws to follow and which not to.

“There is no pick and choose in Islam; you take it all or nothing,” said ex-syarie judge Ismail Yahya at a forum on child marriages at Urbanscapes House here today.

Referring to a case in 2013 where a 12-year-old girl had gotten married to her alleged rapist, a 40-year-old restaurant owner in Sabah, Ismail noted that the man was already married when he had extramarital relations with the girl.

“In Islam, this man is supposed to be stoned to death.

“So, he has no business getting married to the rape victim,” he said, adding that rapists should be treated and punished as criminals.

On child marriages, he said the problem was that there were no set guidelines for shariah judges to follow when it came to allowing or disallowing it.

Ismail said he was against children being married off to their rapists.

“Rape should not be grounds for marriage.

“If you want to get married, then it should be based on whether you can make the girl happy and whether or not you’re able to provide for her.”

Another speaker at the forum, DAP MP Teo Nie Ching, said it was important for Muslims to speak up against child marriages.

“Every time I raise the issue in Parliament, I still get a lot of objections.

“Most Muslim MPs are also afraid to be vocal about it even if they agree that child marriages should stop.

“That’s why we need Muslim members of the public to speak up so that when I bring it up, it doesn’t seem like it’s from ‘evil’ Teo herself or the ‘evil’ DAP.”

She also pointed out that it was a common misconception that child marriages were specifically a Muslim problem.

“Many non-Muslims also marry their children off to ‘save face’ when the child gets pregnant.

“The situation we (Muslims and non-Muslims) face is similar and it’s not just Muslims who face this problem.”

PPBM Youth chief Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, who was present, said it was important to have moderate imam, shariah judges and mufti to speak up regarding this issue.

“This is needed, especially in the sensitive context of Malaysia.

“There is no legitimate religious voice that speaks out on this issue. So, it’s also hard to get Muslim MPs to support it.”