Muslim groups divided over Islamic law's implementation

Abdullah Zaik.

PETALING JAYA - Muslim rights group Pertubuhan Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) president Ustaz Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman feels it is an Islamic right to implement hudud.

"While people see it as harsh, it is a necessary strictness. There are lines which cannot be crossed.

"If you violate someone's rights, a harsh punishment is needed to ensure others take it as a warning."

Abdullah Zaik also said the chance of a wrongful conviction was slim, as if there was even a tiny shred of evidence suggesting the accused was not guilty, no punishment would be meted out.

While Isma supports the implementation of hudud, others claim it threatens to send Malaysia back into the dark ages.

Sisters in Islam executive director Ratna Osman said methods of punishment such as amputation, beheading or lashing did not begin with Islam.

"It was a common method of punishment back in the medieval days.

"Accordingly, it does not relate to justice today as the standards of justice and punishment have changed entirely. Why go back when we have evolved as a society?"

Ratna pointed out that no matter how much care was taken, the chance of wrongful conviction could not be entirely eliminated.

Islamic Renaissance Front chairman Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa asked if hudud was still applicable in today's context.

"It is important for Muslims to turn their attention from what is limited by laws to what they are actually meant to protect," he said, adding that Muslims had to "focus on the inner message of Islam that calls for spirituality, demands education, justice and the respect of pluralism".

Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) said PAS must get its Pakatan Rakyat partners to understand hudud first before pushing for it.

Its president Amidi Abdul Manan said strong objections from PKR and DAP leaders reflected lack of understanding of the matter.

"It must be impressed upon them that we can check theft, graft and social ills effectively through hudud," he said, adding that hudud was not confined to court and prosecution but encompassed the way of life.