Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Appeal Court's Verdict on JAWI's Borders Raid














On June 28, 2012, I had blogged that JAWI (Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department) had conducted a raid at the Borders bookstore at the Gardens Mall in Kuala Lumpur and subsequently store manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz was accused by the religious authority of breaching the hukum syarak by distributing or selling Irshad Manji’s book "Allah, Liberty and Love". 

On March 22, 2013, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur ruled that JAWI had acted illegally in raiding the outlet and seizing the book. Justice Zaleha Yusof said in her judgment that JAWI had also acted illegally in charging the store manager, Nik Raina, a Muslim employee, in the Syariah court in Kuala Lumpur.
 
Following the judgment, JAWI filed an appeal against the High Court's decision.
 
On December 30, 2014, the Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s decision. The book was seized before a fatwa banning it was issued and as such JAWI's actions were deemed illegal and unconstitutional. The three-man bench, led by Mah Weng Kwai, also held that JAWI's actions against Nik Raina was illegal and unconstitutional and said her arrest and prosecution must be quashed.
 
JAWI have not done so – methinks doing it is the correct and honourable thing to do. And JAWI need to be reined in because they seem to think that they are a law unto themselves.
 
This case has put a spotlight on the country’s parallel systems of civil law and Syariah law, with the majority Malay-Muslim population being bound by the latter. There will be more such cases.
 
On Tuesday, I was at the Taman Indrahana Toastmasters meeting in PJ’s Cobra Club where I delivered an Advanced speech from The Entertaining Speaker manual. The speech “A Dramatic Talk” had an intriguing title: “Death Times 13” – it turned out to be an entertaining speech that took shape only when I went up to the front to begin speaking. And I was voted Best Speaker too. In fact, this could be a winning Humorous speech! Overall, it was a good meeting and I am giving it a score of a 7 over 10.
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