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Trials, tribulations: Discrimination against women in syariah courts

On June 27, Emilia Hanafi unwillingly surrendered herself to serve a seven-day prison sentence meted out by the Syariah Court for rescheduling a visitation date for her ex-husband, Naza group chairperson SM Faisal SM Nasimuddin, to see their children.

Criticism of the jail sentence as being excessive caused Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah to be charged with contempt.

The action taken against Emilia and those who spoke out for her, has become a symbol for those who believe that this country’s syariah courts systematically discriminate against women.

The syariah courts have purview over Islamic family matters such as divorce and inheritance, as well as ruling on syariah criminal matters - based on Islamic laws which differ from state to state.

Those with unfavourable views of the courts accuse it of... 

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