from Asia News Network
The Malaysian president-elect, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, has criticised the caning of the two women convicted of lesbian sex, saying that it lacked due process and understanding.
“I’m a practising Muslim, but I don’t share that interpretation and certainly that sort of action to publicly cane without proper due process and understanding,” Anwar said during a press conference in Makati City yesterday.
On August 12, the Terengganu Syariah High Court fined the women and ordered that they be caned six times each for committing musahaqah (sexual relations between women) under Section 30 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment (Takzir) (Terengganu).
The sentence was carried out on Monday (September 3) in the court, witnessed by some 100 people, including the media.
PHOTO: The Star Online
The accused, aged 22 and 32, were led to a stool where two female officers from the Kajang Women’s prison carried out the sentence in turns. The caning for such an offence is believed to be the first to be carried out in the state.
Anwar insists that he is not against Syariah Law, but maintained that it was important to put focus on the “high objectives of the Syariah”.
“What are the higher objectives of the shariah? To ensure peace and security, justice, tolerance, education and understanding. That is not being done,” he said.
He added that one has to be careful when commenting on such issues, for fear of being labelled as “anti-Islam”.
“Let us debate, and not insist that your interpretation is correct … even if it is, is that the priority? These are questions that must be the dynamics within the Muslim communities before you embark upon the application of the Syariah,” said Anwar.
The Star reports that the incident has sparked quite a backlash, “especially from civil society”. The Human Right Commission of Malaysia has also strongly condemned the caning , and called for all corporal punishment to end.
SOURCE: The Star