KUALA LUMPUR - Rapists should not be allowed to marry the victim, in fact, they should rightfully be stoned to death, says former Terengganu Mufti Datuk Ismail Yahya.
He said many people were misusing the religion and religious teachings for their own benefit.
"They either do it to their own religion or the religion of others. It becomes what we call escapism," he said at a forum Child Marriage: Setting our children up to fail.
Ismail explained that an underage girl should not be married off solely because she was raped.
"That is not right. The religion does not suggest that.
"Would marrying him keep her happy in the long term? Would it truly benefit her? Would the guy be able to look after her?
"You can't just marry off the girl just because she was raped, because if we really want to follow the religion the rapist should be stoned to death, not have him married his victim," said Ismail, a former Terengganu Syariah court chief judge.
Asked about child marriage cases he heard during his time as a Syariah court judge, Ismail said despite having offered counselling to the families involved, he always faced tremendous pressure from the families to approve such marriages.
DAP lawmaker Teo Nie Ching said people feel that child marriages "is the solution to the increasing numbers of teen pregnancy cases."
"I admit, teen pregnancy is getting worst here, but getting them into marriage doesn't solve the problem at all. Stop rushing them into marriage.
"As for baby dumping, it happens because of the shame and stigma revolving around the issue.
"We need to have a support system which include a better organised adoption system," she said.
She noted the difficulty in legally adopting a child in Malaysia and urged the government to improve the system.