Moral policing allowed by Malaysia’s syariah enactments breaches the principles of justice and privacy safeguarded in Islam, says Muslim rights group Sisters In Islam.
It said this is especially so when khalwat (close proximity) raids by the authority lead to deaths with no action taken against the raiding parties.
In a statement today, it said there have been several cases where those trying to flee from enforcement officers died trying to escape to avoid shame.
“ It is regrettable that syariah laws in Malaysia are implemented without consideration for justice, privacy and personal dignity.
“ Instead, khalwat raids are done to mar individuals' dignity under the guise of religion and there is a tendency to raid those who are of the middle to lower income group or those living on the fringes of society,” it said.
The SIS statement comes after Muslim NGOs and some mufti slammed Malay intellectuals group G25 for calling an end to khalwat raids .
G25 said the raids were an invasion of privacy unwarranted in Islam while their critics claimed it was in accordance with the Islamic principle of commanding righteousness and barring wrongdoing.
G25 was also accused of encouraging zina (illicit sex) by calling for an end to khalwat raids.
Muslims in Malaysia can be charged with committing khalwat if found in a private area with an unrelated member of the opposite sex.
SIS said the Quran speaks against barging into people’s homes and exposing the private affairs of others.
The Hujurat (Rooms) chapter states: ' O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other'.
SIS also cites a verse from the Nur (Light) chapter which states: “O you who have believed, do not enter houses other than your own houses until you ascertain welcome and greet their inhabitants.”
As such, SIS urged "defenders of Islam" and syariah law practitioners to engage in constructive discussion to ensure a fair implementation of the law.
“Muslims will be safeguarded if we hold true to the teachings of Islam which defend human rights, love and humility,” it pointed out.