Educate, not punish those who insult Islam and prophet, say groups

Mohamad Yazid Kong Abdullah (second from left) was jailed seven months and fined RM10,000 for insulting Islam and the prophet in Kuala Lumpur. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Eleven organisations today called on the government to reconsider the punishment meted out to those convicted of insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad on social media, suggesting rehabilitative initiatives instead.

“The quantum of the sentence is disproportionate when compared to the fact that rapists and perpetrators of domestic violence often receive much lighter sentences, with some hardly receiving any prison time at all,” said the group in a statement today.

The statement said disproportionate and unjust prison sentences are likely to fester resentment and do little in changing a person’s behaviour.

The group went on to cite a similar case in Lebanon where three teenagers were sentenced to learn verses from the Quran about Jesus after they were found guilty of insulting Christianity.

The NGOs said the government should instead embark on initiatives that advocate and promote greater racial integration, religious appreciation and multicultural harmony.

The 11 in the group are Sisters in Islam, Centre for Independent Journalism, Knowledge and Rights with Young People Through Safer Spaces, Aliran, Suara Rakyat Malaysia, Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor, Malaysia Muda, Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia, Agora Society, Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy and Pusat Komas.

Last week, a Sarawakian Facebook user was jailed 10 years and 10 months by the Kuching Sessions Court after he pleaded guilty to 10 charges of insulting Islam and the prophet.

Today, another Facebook user was put behind bars for seven months and fined RM10,000 by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for the same crime.