PETALING JAYA: The G25 has called the High Court’s recent decision to dismiss an application by Sisters In Islam (SIS) challenging a decision of the Selangor Fatwa Committee as retrogressive, against high judicial precedent and contrary to the Federal Constitution.
The group of eminent Malays said the decision implied that the High Court had granted wide arbitrary powers to the state fatwa authority to issue fatwas, adding that the judgment set a dangerous precedent.
“G25 also believes that there has been a serious misconception of the fundamental values that Islam uphold, namely rationality, compassion, tolerance and inclusivity.
"The dismissal of SIS’ application is a gross violation of sound Islamic governance, ” it said in a statement on Thursday (Sep 5).
The High Court on Aug 27 dismissed the application by SIS to challengethe Selangor Fatwa Committee's decision to declare it a deviant organisation which had diverged from the true teachings of Islam.
The court ruled that a fatwa (edict) was the exclusive jurisdiction of the Syariah Court.
In rendering his judgement, judge Datuk Nordin Hassan said that the civil court had no jurisdiction to hear the application brought by SIS, its founder Zainah Mahfoozah Anwar and former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim, pursuant to Article 121A of the Federal Constitution.
G25 said there were serious negative implications from such a decision.
“Not only is it a major blow for Muslim women, but it is also a regressive step away from racial and religious harmony, ” it said, adding that the rejection of SIS’ application was akin to rejecting the fundamental dream of the country's “Bapa Malaysia”, Tunku Abdul Rahman.
G25 also said that the decision of the High Court had serious legal and socio-political consequences.
“By way of a judicial review application, SIS challenged the validity of the fatwa on the grounds (among others) of it being unconstitutional as it violates SIS’s right to freedom of speech.
“Moreover, SIS, being a company, and not a natural person professing the Islamic faith, is outside the jurisdiction of the Selangor religious authority, ” it said.
It said that the socio-religious and political repercussions of the High Court’s decision would be equally tumultuous and believed that the dismissal was also due to the misconception of the notions of liberalism and pluralism.
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