SHAH ALAM: The High Court here has rejected an attempt by three followers of Shia Islam to challenge the Selangor state religious department’s (Jais) decision to prosecute them.
Justice Shahnaz Sulaiman dismissed their application for leave to commence judicial review proceedings, holding that the civil courts have no power to decide on shariah court matters.
She said their charges fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the shariah courts.
“Any interference by the civil High Courts would be considered a violation of Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution,” Shahnaz said.
Article 121 (1A) provides that the civil courts shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter that falls within the jurisdiction of the shariah courts.
Shahnaz also said the issue of whether Shia Islam deviates from the true teachings of the faith should be heard in the shariah court.
“It is crucial to emphasise that the resolution of the issue at hand demands a thorough examination of Islamic law by competent jurists. The civil court is clearly not qualified or equipped to deal with such issues,” she said.
The three – Kamilzuhairi Abd Aziz, Ab Razak Hasan and Nassir Sahar – claim to profess and practise Shia Islam teachings.
They were arrested by Jais on Sept 6, 2019 alongside 19 others at a Shia event in Taman Sri Gombak.
In March 2023, they were charged in the shariah subordinate court for allegedly breaching a 2013 state fatwa that outlawed Shia teachings on grounds that it deviates from the real teachings of Islam.
They wanted the High Court to review Jais’s decision to prosecute them and had sought a declaration that they have the right to practise Shia Islam.