A sermon issued by the Selangor State Religious Department (Jais) in conjunction with Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations yesterday, lauded the Private Member’s Bill motioned by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang as a victory for Muslims.
Likewise, it lauded the Kuala Lumpur High Court decision to dismiss a challenge by the group Sister in Islam (SIS) against a Selangor fatwa declaring the group as ‘deviant’.
“We are thankful for our victory to bring the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act Amendment Bill 2016 motion in Parliament, which is purely to raise the stature of syariah courts in the country.
“We are also thankful for the decision by the Special Powers and Appellate High Court that rejected SIS’ application to challenge the Selangor Fatwa Council’s decision on liberalism in Selangor to protect the sanctity and primacy of Islam, so that it is not belittled in the eyes of other religions.
“Let us unite on the basis of faith and Islam that is sacred; turn our backs against pointless differences in opinion and return to Allah, and unite to uphold His commandments,” the sermon read.
The sermon would have been read out in mosques throughout Selangor yesterday morning.
The sermon also urged Muslims to take advantage of the festive season to pardon one another’s transgressions, visit one another, and improve the relations between them.
It added that although the holy month of Ramadan has passed, this does not mean that one could engage in ‘immoral’ behaviour. It reminded that Aidilfitri is a time to give thanks to Allah.
“Hence, let us not tarnish it with vice or behaviour that is shunned by Allah, such as wastage, free mingling, touching and greeting between non-mahram men and women, wear clothes that are ‘uncouth’ or does not cover the aurat, and spend too much time in front of the television,” it said.
Walked out of sermon
Meanwhile on Facebook, the CEO of the think tank Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), Wan Saiful Wan Jan, said he was disgusted by the fact that Hadi’s motion and SIS’ case was mentioned in the sermon.
“For the first time in my life, I stood up and walked out of the mosque while the Hari Raya sermon is being read out,” he said.
“What stupidity has befallen upon Muslims in Selangor today?
“The Aidilfitri member is used to raise issues like these, but forgets about issues such as abuse of power, bribery, mismanagement, a mufti that wants to declare war upon fellow citizens, and many other calamities.
“This is what happens when the khatib is downgraded to a mere speech reader,” he said yesterday.
Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill was motioned on May 26, and is still pending a vote on whether the bill can be tabled or not.
The bill seeks to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 such that Syariah Courts can impose any punishment allowed by the relevant state enactments except for the death penalty.
This would be a step up in severity of punishment compared to the status quo, which imposes a maximum limit of three years’ imprisonment, fines up to RM5,000, and whipping with no more than six lashes.
This is seen as a move to pave way for the partial implementation of PAS’ hudud law in Kelantan, although the language of the proposed law would affect punishments for other crimes as well, including in areas outside of Kelantan.
As for the court decision against SIS, the group had challenged the Selangor Islamic Affairs Council (Mais) in court over a fatwa declaring the group as deviant.
The fatwa declares that SIS had deviated from Islamic teachings on grounds that it adopts liberal and plural ideologies.
SIS pleaded that Selangor Fatwa Council and Mais was ultra vires to Article 10 (freedom of speech, assembly, and association), Article 11 (freedom of religion), Article 74 (powers of the state and federal governments).
However, the court dismissed the case saying it has no jurisdiction.
“To my mind, that is the jurisdiction of the syariah court,” said the judge Hanipah Farikullah.