Pressure group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has urged Islamic Affairs Minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa (photo, above) to review the use of punitive measures against those who skip Friday prayers.
Referring to the one-month prison sentence handed to six Muslim men in Terengganu recently, LFL's legal coordinator Zaid Malek said the punishment was a matter of concern.
This is especially so since Mujahid had once stated that the federal government was reviewing syariah penalties with the view of making the penalties rehabilitative, rather than punitive.
"The alleged failure to attend Friday prayers is a personal matter, which the state should not govern in or interfere with.
"While such acts may be considered improper by some in the Muslim society, criminal punishment is excessive and not the way to address them.
"Islam is a religion of compassion, justice, mercy and moderation. In the spirit of these Islamic principles, we urge the minister to look into this matter and resolve it as soon as possible," Zaid said.
The six individuals were caught at the Sekayu waterfall in Kuala Berang, Terengganu, on Aug 23.
They were fined RM2,000 each and handed the one month’s jail sentence after pleading guilty to violating the Syariah Criminal Offences (Takzir) (Terengganu) Enactment 2001.