Khalwat laws unIslamic, says G25

PETALING JAYA: The laws on khalwat (close proximity) in the country’s Syariah judiciary system are an insult to Islam’s stance on the sanctity of people’s privacy, according to G25 coordinator Noor Farida Ariffin.

She claimed that Malaysia was the only Muslim country that had these laws despite privacy being something that was highly valued in Islam.

“One of our (G25) members told us that where she worked in Turkey and Oman, they did not have such laws and even if the police saw a car parked far away, they did not go disturbing people in the privacy of their own cars,” she said.

Farida related a story about the Caliph Omar climbing onto the roof of a house, presumably to spy on the occupants because he had been told they were drinking alcohol.

“The owner of the house said, ‘You have no business coming to my house through illegal means. Whatever I’m doing, if it’s not in public, you have no business to confront me,’ and the Caliph agreed and left,” she said.

“You cannot go prying into people’s homes at three or four in the morning looking for unwed couples. What they’re (religious authorities) doing is bringing disrepute to Islam.”

She also touched on the issue of fatwas and said Malaysia was the only country that regarded it as legally binding and added, “In Islam, a fatwa is an advisory opinion and not binding because any ulama can issue a fatwa.”

She also said that making a fatwa legally binding was clearly a violation of the Federal Constitution, which states that any other law is subordinate to it.

Farida was speaking today at a forum entitled “Standing Tall Against Extremism: The G25 Agenda for a Better Malaysia.”

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