In its article, “Khalwat Raids Make Malaysia Tougher Than Saudi Arabia”, Free Malaysia Today (FMT) wrote:
The way Malaysian religious authorities are policing khalwat (close proximity) is beyond anything in Saudi Arabia or other Gulf States today, warns a leading NGO. – FMT
FMT was reporting on comments made by G25 adviser Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Kassim, “in response to the recent death and injuries of two policemen who jumped from buildings to escape raids by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais).”
Birds of a feather flock together, like the G25’s spokesperson Dato Noor Farida Ariffin, Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Kassim is also against khalwat raids.
Below are my answers (in blue) to FMT’s article (in red) regarding this issue.
G25 adviser Mohd Sheriff Kassim points out that even Saudi Arabia, the country which is home to Islam’s holiest site, has issued stern guidelines to limit the powers of the moral police to harass and arrest Muslims.
“The instruction is that the moral police should not take the law into their own hands and instead, it should advise those committing offences under the morality laws to change and repent,” he said In a statement today.
I cannot comment on the laws of Saudi Arabia because
- I have not studied the laws of the country
- I respect and do not want to interfere with the laws of the land.
But even if it is true that they do not implement such laws, as a sovereign country, we have our own constitutional rights to implement our own laws.
Anyway, if G25 adviser thinks that Saudi Arabia is doing a better job in dealing with Syariah offences, then G25 must fight for our country to follow the laws of Saudi Arabia, which means implementing the Hudud laws in our country.
His comments were in response to the recent death and injuries of two policemen who jumped from buildings to escape raids by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais).
As policemen, they must know the laws and their rights, so if they chose to jump from the building in order to escape, the fault is theirs and it is not JAIS’ fault.
Would G25 blame the police if a burglar chose to jump from a building in order to avoid being arrested by the policemen who are carrying their duties?
Just two months ago, Jais introduced a mobile phone app, called “Hotline Jais”, for people to report religious offences, including khalwat.
It is a good move by JAIS to use updated technology so that it is easier for the public to report religious offences in order for us to take care of our Muslim community.
Sheriff added that Malays who visited or lived in Arab states have not come across any country where so-called moral police raid private homes.
If we must follow the laws of Saudi Arabia, we must change our Federal Constitution and implement the Hudud laws.
He also pointed out that some ulama consider khalwat raids un-Islamic as it gave the impression that the religion used only punishment to uphold morals.
Khalwat raid is one of the ways to prevent the religious offence of khalwat and the Islamic authorities have their Standard Operating Procedure that must be followed by their enforcement officers when conducting the raids, so only the liberals would declare that our khalwat raids un-Islamic; not the ulama of Ahli As-Sunnah Wa Al-Jamaah.
Khalwat raids also tended to target the lower-income group as the “rich and powerful” had more resources to “get away with bigger sins”. Sheriff noted that khalwat laws could be easily exploited by a person’s enemies to “settle a score”.
G25 adviser has made a very serious allegation which I hope he has the proves to support it, and it is the duty of G25 to make police reports as soon as possible regarding this matter.
“Our authorities should learn from the failed experience of dictatorial regimes which criminalised personal thoughts and behaviour to discourage individualism and promote mass obedience to the state ideology,” he said.
What does khalwat raid have to do with “dictatorial regimes which criminalised personal thoughts and behaviour to discourage individualism and promote mass obedience to the state ideology”?
Islamic matters are not political matters and it is stated clearly in our Federal Constitution that the YDP Agong and the Royal Rulers are the Head of Islam, so the above statement is a malicious distortion of the truth and a humiliation to the Royal Rulers.
Article 3(2) of the Federal Constitution:
In every State other than States not having a Ruler the position of the Ruler as the Head of the religion of Islam in his State in the manner and to the extent acknowledged and declared by the Constitution of that State, and, subject to that Constitution, all rights, privileges, prerogatives and powers enjoyed by him as Head of that religion, are unaffected and unimpaired; but in any acts, observances or ceremonies with respect to which the Conference of Rulers has agreed that they should extend to the Federation as a whole each of the other Rulers shall in his capacity of Head of the religion of Islam authorize the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to represent him.
Article 3(3) of the Federal Constitution:
The Constitution of the States of Malacca, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak shall each make provision for conferring on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong the position of Head of the religion of Islam in that State.
Since G25 wants us to follow Saudi Arabia, G25 members must start fighting for our country to implement Hudud.