Caning for lesbian sex: We’re regressing to the Middle Ages, says Muslim activist

Muslim activist Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa.

PETALING JAYA: Muslim activist Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa today condemned the public caning of two women in Terengganu for attempting same-sex relations, calling it a sign that Malaysia is “regressing to the Middle Ages”.

In a statement to FMT, Farouk whose group Islamic Renaissance Front has frequently spoken out against the repression of Muslims by Islamic agencies, said no one deserved to be subjected to degrading or humiliating punishment.

“What happened in Terengganu was clearly against the standard of human rights in this century.

“We should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing such humiliating treatment of our sisters.”

In the state’s first verdict on same-sex relations, the two women who were convicted of attempting to have lesbian sex in April were charged under shariah law and sentenced to six strokes of the cane and a fine of RM3,300.

The caning was carried out today before a crowd of about 100 people at the Terengganu Shariah High Court.

Their conviction came amid concerns around growing intolerance toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Malaysia after activists criticised some officials for making homophobic remarks in recent weeks.

Farouk said the public caning contravened Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane or degrading punishment or treatment.

“At a time when Malaysia would like to posture as a modern, civil and moderate government, this episode paints a black picture of this country,” he said.

“Although it happened in a state not governed by the federal government, such degrading laws should not be allowed in this country.

“Today is a dark day for human rights in Malaysia,” he said, adding that such an inhumane act done in the name of religion would only bring shame to Muslims along with the entire nation.