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Four police reports have been lodged today over a newspaper article for allegedly containing seditious material which insulted the Malays and Islam.

The four identical reports were lodged at the Sentul district police headquarters against an article titled 'Persuasion, not compulsion' by The Star managing editor P Gunasegaram.

The police reports state that Gunasegaram's commentary on the recent syariah whipping sentence meted against three women was an insult to Muslims.

"The article clearly wants to challenge (and) anger the Muslims and insult Islam. (The author) has no right to comment about Islamic jurisprudence because he is not a Muslim," read the police report.

The police report also called for Gunasegaram to issue an open apology to all Muslims.

The four complainants were representatives of National Indigenous Organisation (Perkasa), Perkasa Selangor, Malaysian Islamic Consumer Association (PPIM) and Malaysian Muslim People's Coalition (IRIMM).

'Sack him'

Speaking to reporters later, PPIM president Dr Ma'amor Osman said it was wrong for Gunasegaram to criticised the Syariah Court ruling and demanded that he be sacked.

"We also call on the Home Ministry to investigate and find out if there is a hidden motive. We hope that all Muslims will boycott the newspaper until there is an apology," he said.

Last Wednesday, the Home Ministry revealed that three Muslim women were caned after they were found guilty of extramarital sex by the Syariah Court on Feb 9.

This has sparked an uproar among rights groups who points to the federal constitution which explicitly bars women from being caned.

The whipping of women under syariah criminal offences legislation contradicts civil law where women are not punishable by caning under Section 289 of Criminal Procedure Code.

Criticisms were also levelled at the government for the 'secretive' nature in which the sentences were carried out. This is believed to be the first time women had been caned under the syariah law.

However, the caning sentence was welcomed by many Muslim groups.

This incident comes in the wake of the international uproar over the impending caning sentence of part-time model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarnor, which has been delayed for several months.

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