PETALING JAYA: Vocal Muslim women’s rights group Sisters in Islam (SIS) has paid tribute to Muslim scholar Kassim Ahmad, saying his last court case showed the indomitable human spirit at its most inspiring.
Speaking to FMT, SIS executive director Rozana Isa said Kassim’s death was mourned not only by his family and friends, but also by those who had followed his literary works which broke away from mainstream thought, and his struggles against the arbitrary and ruthless use of authority.
“He stood for and lived out many ideas and principles in his life – for justice, for freedom of thought and speech, and freedom of religion.
“He demonstrated courage and resilience at points of vulnerability,” she said.
Kassim was charged last year with insulting Islam and defying the religious authorities.
However, the Shariah High Court later acquitted and discharged him after ordering the withdrawal of charges.
Kassim died at 10am today, less than 24 hours after he slipped into a coma at the Kulim Hospital in Kedah.
His son Ahmad Shauqi confirmed that Kassim had been hospitalised for a lung infection and a blocked heart valve on Sept 16.
Shauqi was reported as saying last night that his father had difficulty breathing and was using an oxygen mask.
Rozana said Kassim had left behind a great legacy through his writings and intellectual contributions on religion, politics and philosophy, among others.
These would continue to be a source of inspiration for generations to come, she said, adding that it was important to ensure that his struggle remained alive.
“May he be with those who are in His esteem,” she said.