Enforcing Syariah law is not a competition, says Mujahid

PUTRAJAYA: Enforcing Syariah law is not a competition and it gives a wrong impression of Islam, says Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof (pic).

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department expressed his displeasure that other states are interested to follow Terengganu’s move to introduce public caning.

“This is not the spirit. The spirit of enforcement on any criminal act under the Syariah law is based on the principle of mercy and compassion. It is not a competition of who wants to do more,” said he at a press conference after a corporate zakat-giving ceremony yesterday.

He was responding to a suggestion that the Pahang government may consider introducing public caning for people caught under the Syariah law for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activities.

This came after two women in Terengganu were subjected to public caning after admitting to same sex relations.

The lesbian couple, aged 22 and 32, were caned six times each in the presence of over 100 people. They were also fined RM3,300 each.

Pahang Islamic Religious Depart­ment director Datuk Mohamad Noor Abdul Rani had expressed his agreement with the punishment meted out by the Kuala Terengganu Syariah High Court.

Dr Mujahid said the best way of dealing with the issue was to educate the public and make them aware of such offences.

“Under the enactment, there is a provision of mercy on the part of the offender. These things should also be looked into.

“I do not like the suggestion that other states want to follow suit. This seemingly gives a message that Islam wants to punish people,” said Dr Mujahid, who is also Parti Amanah Negara vice-president.

The punishment drew mixed reactions from the public, human rights groups and politicians.

On a separate matter, Dr Mujahid called for more transparency in the collection and distribution of zakat to ensure that the contribution would truly help the poor and needy.