Saw this post in Feministe – don’t skip this because it’s a blog about the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes*!
Two Sudanese women have been sentenced to death via stoning in Northern Sudan, where sharia law is fully out of control. They were tried in Arabic, which is not their first language, and were not allowed lawyers or interpretors. Interestingly, the man accused of having an adulterous relationship with one of the women got off because there wasn’t enough evidence against him.
But apparently, there was enough evidence against her to take away her life. Funny how that works.
Are the people who are practicing Syariah Law using it as a guide to real justice?
If they should be tried, they should have access to translators when they could have misinterpretted the Arabic language. Why they have no lawyer? Who is on their side to solve the crime? Who investigated the alleged crime? If the women were proofed to be guilty, how did the man escape the verdict?
It is stupid that some laws require as many as 4 men as witness to a rape/injustice. If you were a rapist/adulterer, would you do it in front of 4 people – and 4 men at that?! How stupid do the Syariah Law think the rapists or adulterers are? Or shall we ask, how good the Syariah Law is?
A lot of Muslims say that Islam is fair. I think some Muslims in Malaysia have to defend their religion (and I’m not saying it’s wrong to defend own beliefs) – they can’t change to another religion (or they’d end up in jail). They’d hate themselves for being in the wrong/wronged when Islam isn’t as good as they hoped ideally, so they have to brain wash themselves into accepting what their religion is, is right. Because they don’t want to be wrong/wronged.
It’s like a victim of rape denied she was ever raped because she didn’t want to believe she could be so weak/helpless to be raped (even though this wasn’t the case) so she fooled herself into thinking she wasn’t raped when she was raped! Sigh. This comes from the stigma of perceiving or really, that the law and society would not protect her.
In the first place, Muslims in Malaysia do not have the right to choose their own religion. At least if you are a Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, etc but you would like to change religion, there’s no law to prevent you from doing so. Worst, you’ll get eye-daggers and become the gossip in your ex-religion group. How’s that, Justice?
If you are a Muslim.. you’ve done nothing wrong and nothing wrong has ever been done to you. Do you think Islam is great? Would you care if there are injustice in Syariah Law for other people when so far, you didn’t have to deal with it yourself?
If you had been wronged by someone/something and you couldn’t get back your right via Islam, do you still think Islam is great? Or if you had taken something that is not yours – a coin, a car, someone’s dignity, a life – but you weren’t proven guilty and you remained free, would you embrace Islam? Would you feel regret about what you have done?
Where is the fairness when a husband can just utter “I divorce you” three times and the wife is divorced but it doesn’t work the same if the wife wants divorce? And let’s not forget that the men can practice polyandry but the women cannot even look at other men except their relatives and husband, they have to cover themselves from head to toe (by right) to prevent men lusting them?! Yeah, the men are claimed to be so weak that they could get high from seeing even a strand of hair.
I remember back when I was in secondary school, my Sejarah (History) tuition teacher asked a question seriously, “Do you think our law is good?”
Many students in the class nodded and said, “Yes.” Some half-heartedly, some confidently. Embarassed to admit now, I answered “Yes” even though I was thinking “NO! There are so many injustice from education, finance support, career opportunities, marriage, child support, etc..” because I wanted to appear patriotic. My country could do no wrong.
“Do you think our law is perfect?”
More half-heartedly answered, “Yeahh,” but still some shouted, “Ya!” Some exclaimed, “No!”
“Actually the law in Malaysia is NOT perfect. If you know the law, you’d know that there are many loopholes.”
He shook his head. “We have much to learn and improve.”
I looked up to such teachers who dare to admit our laws are not perfect and need improvement. It’s in such teachers and people that Malaysia can grow to be a better country. Not blindly Malaysia Boleh.
Related NGOs in Malaysia for Islam/women:
- Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia
- Pertubuhan Kebajikan Islam Malaysia
- Sisters in Islam
- more links from Sisters in Islam
* definition by Merriam-Webster