Home Civil Society Voices Another woman to be caned: Terengganu sentence voids compassion

Another woman to be caned: Terengganu sentence voids compassion

Join us on Telegram and Instagram for the latest.

Sisters in Islam is outraged that the whipping sentence has again been meted out on a woman by the Kuala Terengganu Sharia High Court today.

We are disappointed that civil society organisations’ call for a moratorium on corporal punishment has fallen on deaf ears, and that the federal government has not taken any action to prevent the normalisation of such a cruel form of punishment in Malaysia.

The woman was sentenced to six lashes and six months in prison under Section 25 of the Sharia Criminal Offences (Takzir) (Terengganu) Enactment 2001, which states that any woman who does an act preparatory to prostitute herself shall be guilty of an offence. As a first-time offender who pleaded guilty, normal sentencing guidelines dictate that she should not have been given the maximum punishment.

According to media reports, the woman who is a single mother had not received any financial support from her ex-husband and was therefore unable to support her daughter. The zeal with which the punishment was meted out ignores these circumstances that previously would have mitigated sentencing.

Where is the compassion that lies at the heart of Islamic teachings? It is mentioned in the Qur’an (16:125), “Invite all to the way of the Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and reason with them in the ways that are best and most gracious.”

Any laws passed under the name of Islam must take into account the most fundamental teachings of the Qur’an based on justice and mercy and the right to preserve human dignity. Even in the verses regarding punishment in the Qur’an (5: 38-39 and 5:33-34), God stressed the qualities of mercy and forgiveness.

READ MORE:  Syariah Criminal Code (I): Towards one family, two systems?

What is guiding the Kuala Terengganu Sharia High Court judges’ sudden escalation in handing down the maximum punishment?

Proponents of whipping claim that it is done with the intention of educating, and that it does not cause harm. Today’s case clearly demonstrates that the humiliation experienced by women before, during and after the whipping is not considered a relevant factor of their pain, when in fact humiliation is a key aspect of the punishment and causes lasting psychological trauma.

We strongly reiterate that whipping does little, if anything at all, to “educate.” In fact, such a punishment, which is void of compassion and mercy, only tarnishes Islam and reinforces Islamophobic stereotypes that Islam discriminates against women.

We also cannot overlook the fact that there were two people who were arrested; the man who solicited was later released without being charged. Because Section 25 explicitly targets only women as prostitutes, women are disproportionately vulnerable to and affected by this law.

Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x