Local prosecutors are pursuing a statutory rape charge against 40-year-old restaurant manager Riduan Masmud, who allegedly had sex with the girl in a parked car outside the Sabah state capital Kota Kinabalu in February. The girl is now 13 and his defense is that he married her.
State officials in Sabah want the marriage annulled. The girl is known to be from a very poor family and in one interview Riduan said the rape was a case of “suka sama suka” (“mutual consent”).
In many countries of the Middle East, women are wondering what the Arab Spring means for them. Some observers are concerned that the power vacuum will leave the door open for Islamist groups to take power and force changes opposing women’s rights.
Zainah Anwar, a leading Malaysian social activist and intellectual, is not one of them. She is even excited about the prospects that the Arab Spring could have for women.
APRIL 20 — The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) is shocked and deeply concerned by media reports on Kedah’s new fatwa ruling. The amendments to the Mufti and Fatwa (Kedah Darul Aman) Enactment 2008 now bar a fatwa from being “challenged, appealed, reviewed, denied or questioned in any civil court or syariah court.”
Sisters in Islam (SIS) is unequivocally opposed to the adoption and implementation of Hudud law in Malaysia. This has been our considered position since 1993. Our stand on Hudud law is based on the following reasons:
Women are claiming a leading role the political reform movement in Malaysia. In July this year, around 50,000 Malaysians braved a massive state-sponsored onslaught against freedom of expression and freedom of assembly to gather in the nation's capital to demand electoral reform. It was the second time that Malaysians gathered in a mass rally to demand these reforms, but the first time that the call was led by a woman, Ambiga Sreenevasan, and where the lead organisation was a women's rights NGO, Empower. This put gender directly in the spotlight of the Bersih movement.
The hudud controversy has now returned to the eyes of the media after it was discussed at the National Syariah Seminar sponsored by the Department of Islamic Affairs of Kelantan.
PAS indeed had taken a step forward in their comprehensive proposals for a welfare state but their preoccupation with the hudud issue clearly shows that they are still stuck in the framework of antiquarian politics.
SEPT 23 — Once again the familiar argument has surfaced, or been desperately invoked, this time in the latest stand-off between the leading Pakatan Rakyat allies Karpal Singh and Anwar Ibrahim.
Hudud law, if implemented, will apply only to Muslims, Anwar Ibrahim again insists, so the question is one that concerns only Muslims, not Malaysian citizens of other faiths — or no conventional doctrinal allegiance at all. So non-Muslims have nothing to fear, no legitimate interest in the matter, and no right to express any opinion. The matter is for Muslims alone.
Interview by Fathol Zaman Bukhari. There has been much furore over the formation of the Obedient Wives’ Club by a fringe Islamic group causing heated debate among women and men, alike. Ipoh Echo sought the views of two Malay Muslim women who helm a women’s rights movement here in Ipoh. Dr Sharifah Halimah Jaafar and Puan Halida Mohd Ali are from the Perak Women for Women Society. Here are their answers to our questions:
IE: Your views on the formation of the Obedient Wives’ Club by Islamic fringe group, Global Ikhwan on Saturday, June 4.
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – A group of Malaysian women launched an "Obedient Wife Club" on Saturday, urging members to be "whores in bed" and obey their husbands to curb social ills like divorce and domestic violence.
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — Female genital mutilation (FGM) is not a familiar custom in Malaysia. FGM is synonymous with the Middle East and African countries, and is a shocking and barbaric practice. A number of academics and researchers have expressed concern over what seems to be a growing prevalence of FGM in Malaysia.
In Malaysia, which is predominantly Muslim, some women wear the hijab, a head scarf that shows the face but covers the hair, ears and neck. And some do not. A new documentary, “Siapa Aku?” or “Who Am I?” by Norhayati Kaprawi, a young Muslim woman, explores the reasons why.
BANGKOK (TrustLaw) – Malaysia is considered a tolerant, progressive and successful developing Muslim nation; its capital is a gleaming metropolis with one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world.
Yet the politicisation of religion in recent years has led to a regression in gender rights under the country’s Islamic Family Law, a prominent women’s rights group, which is aiming to reform the legislation, told TrustLaw.
The question of whether Islam accepts religious pluralism depends on an understanding of the term and hinges on the Quranic verses, writes Mohamad Hashim Kamali.
THE current debate as to whether Islam accepts religious pluralism as opposed to mere religious plurality calls for further reflection. Much would depend, it seems, on how one understands religious pluralism and then the three Quranic verses that characterise Islam.
On November 9, 2010, the 2nd international “One Day One Struggle” Campaign to promote sexual and bodily rights in Muslim societies will take place in 12 countries across Middle East, North Africa, South and Southeast Asia.
KUALA LUMPUR — Women’s groups have applauded the recent appointment of two female judges to Islamic courts in Malaysia, but its significance is not yet clear: The new judges will have to wait a month before finding out whether they will be prevented from hearing certain cases.
Fearing public embarrassment, couples accused of infringing religious laws on morality often put themselves at risk of physical hurt, and even death.
WHEN a fatal accident happens, usually there will be an enquiry to find out the reasons behind it. Landslides may cause homes to be buried along with some occupants so an enquiry is needed to decide who is at fault and to be held responsible.
Or schoolchildren out on an excursion may wind up drowned and investigations must be done, not least to ensure such a tragedy never happens again.
In a Press Statement issued by Sisters in Islam (SIS), the Malaysian women's group, one of the most well-known nongovernment groups in this Muslim-majority country, registered their happiness with the decision by Sultan of Pahang, Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, to commute Kartika’s caning sentence to community service.
KUALA LUMPUR: The SIS Forum (Malaysia) succeeded in throwing out the Home Minister’s order banning its 215-page book, Muslim Women and the Challenges of Islamic Extremism.
High Court judge Justice Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof on Monday ruled that the book is not a threat to public order.
He said the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia’s (Jakim) objection to the book was that it could confuse Muslims, especially those who with only a superficial knowledge of their religion, as the publication explains Islamic teachings according to the writers’ own views.
WHEN I was media officer at a local feminist organisation, the Malaysian police claimed in their press statements to have solved 80% of crimes against women in 2005. That these figures were greeted with near-universal derision by activists working on women's human rights would not, I wager, be a surprise to many.
Further reports suggest that "solved" was defined as the police having identified the perpetrators. It does not necessarily mean these perpetrators were actually charged and convicted by the courts.