SIS: Absence of hate speech leading up to ‘deviant’ fatwa hearing shows maturity among Malaysians

Participants rehearsing for the state-level National Day celebration in front of the Ipoh Town Hall, August 29, 2018. ― Picture by Farhan Najib
Participants rehearsing for the state-level National Day celebration in front of the Ipoh Town Hall, August 29, 2018. ― Picture by Farhan Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — Sisters in Islam (SIS) has commended the majority of Malaysians for their maturity and peace-loving nature, despite its court hearing to legally challenge a “deviant” fatwa being postponed today.

According to the non-governmental organisation’s (NGO) communications manager Majidah Hashim, the absence of hate speech and racist smear campaigns leading up to the hearing indicates a positive level of maturity in Malaysian society and shows that most of the country are peace-loving.

“The encouragement that we received both offline and online reflects not only recognition for the importance of the work that we do, but also the eagerness of Malaysians to see justice being upheld,” Majidah said in a statement today.

“SIS expresses appreciation to all our volunteers and supporters who had taken time out from their busy schedules to show their support for us at Kuala Lumpur High Court today,” she added.

Today’s hearing of SIS’ legal challenge against a fatwa, or religious edict, was postponed to June 17 after the High Court was informed that the opposing counsel was medically unwell.

The fatwa, gazetted on July 31, 2014, considered “any individuals, organisations or institutions” deemed “liberal” to be religiously deviant but singled out SIS by name.

When SIS and several individuals first filed the legal challenge in October 2014, pro-clergy Muslim group Geng Ustaz Cintakan Ulama (Gang of Ulama-loving Ustaz) had planned to rally against them at the courts complex.

PAS Youth, at the time, had also declared SIS as an “insolent” and “extremist” group out to challenge the monarchy and Federal Constitution.

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