After interfaith tussles, Penang Mufti suggests Shariah law reforms

Penang Mufti Datuk Dr Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor (left) shaking hands with Bishop Francis at the first interfaith meeting at the former's office in Komtar today. ― Courtesy pic
Penang Mufti Datuk Dr Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor (left) shaking hands with Bishop Francis at the first interfaith meeting at the former's office in Komtar today. ― Courtesy pic

GEORGE TOWN, Feb 29 ― Parts of Shariah law need to be improved to resolve the interfaith custody battles that occur in Malaysia, said Penang Mufti Datuk Dr Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor.

He also said that Islam espouses justice and wisdom, which meant unjust outcomes were un-Islamic.

“When we cannot find solutions based on the Holy Book, we must come up with solutions based on public interest,” he told reporters after a historic interfaith meeting with Christian leaders at Komtar today.

Child custody battles between Muslim and non-Muslim parents was one of the issues discussed during a two-hour meeting between Wan Salim, Penang bishop Sebastian Francis and other leaders of both faiths at the mufti's office today.

They also discussed issues such as unilateral conversions, the threat of the Islamic State (IS) and extremism.

The interfaith meeting is the first such event between the mufti and Christian leaders at the mufti's office.

Wan Salim said such a meeting is important to clear any confusion and misunderstanding between the Muslim and Christian communities.

He said both followers of both faiths must maintain a friendly relationship because “they are not enemies.”

“Allah gave us diversity so we must unite in this diversity,” he said.

Francis later expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting, which he said resulted in a better understanding between leaders from both faiths.

He commended the mufti's commitment to common values such as justice, peace and mercy.

“We agreed on so many things and we will provide leadership in religious and moral matters for our own people respectively,” he said.

He pledged to continue with such interfaith meetings which will include inviting Muslim students from universities for dialogues and discussions.