KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 — Lawyer and activist Siti Kasim has called for Muslims to have a choice between being governed either under secular or religious law amid a debate over PAS’ Shariah Bill.
She said those who want to practise their beliefs and follow their religious leaders should not be stopped, but Malays who do not want to be governed under “manmade” religious laws should also have the freedom to “opt out”.
“I will never submit to these man-made laws guise under the cloak of Islam.
“If our government of the day, can accommodate this, I promise you, I will never, never interfere with the running of your Islam. I will mind my own business,” Siti wrote in a Facebook post yesterday.
Siti showed the middle finger to her hecklers at a forum Monday about PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s Bill that seeks to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) so that the Muslim courts can impose harsher punishments.
The activist stressed that hudud punishments, such as up to 100 lashes of whipping in the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code (II) (1993) 2015 Enactment, were not “Allah’s will” or “God’s laws” as claimed by Islamists.
“We, as Malays must be allowed to openly discuss these so call punishment set out by this Mullahs. Are they really God’s punishment?” she said.
“That is why, I refuse to be governed by these man-made laws under the pretext of Islam. These people are selling Islam. We have been duped for so long,” she added.
In a separate Facebook post, Siti said the Quranic verse used to justify the punishment of amputation of the hand for theft under Kelantan hudud has been misinterpreted.
“[5:38] The male thief, and the female thief, you shall ‘eqta’u’ (cut) their hands as a penalty for what they have committed, and to serve as a deterrent from God. God is Dignified, Wise,” Siti said, citing the Quran.
“The word ‘eqta’u’ (which is the command from of the word ‘qata’aa’) has been wrongly interpreted by the traditional scholars to mean ‘to sever’. But the word for sever in Arabic is ‘batara’ and not ‘qata’aa’.
“In 108:3 we read the word ‘abtar” which speaks of he who whose progeny has been cut off/severed. In 5:38 God did not use the word ‘batara’ but used the word ‘eqta’u’,” said the lawyer.
She said the correct meaning of the word ‘iqta’oo’ (command form of qatta’a) in 5:38 was to cause a cut or mark, not to sever, and thus, part of the punishment for theft according to scripture was to make a visible cut in the hand of the offender for the purpose of social humiliation.
Siti added that that was not the only punishment for theft, citing verse 5:45 that says “a life for a life, an eye [for] the eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth”.
“By virtue of the law set out by God for equivalence in 5:45, a thief who robs another person should be made to compensate the victim by working for him till the victim is fully paid for all damage incurred.
“Simply going to prison will not compensate the victim in any way! So for example, the thief who is convicted of stealing a thousand dollars from you must work for you until you are fully paid for the thousand dollars you lost, plus any other damage and inconvenience the theft may have caused you,” said Siti.
She said those who insist on the amputation of limb for theft “reject God’s infinite mercy”.