KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 — Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa must demonstrate the government’s commitment towards reforming religious laws beginning with the case of six Muslim men given fines and imprisonment for missing prayers, said Lawyers for Liberty.

The rights group said the sentences handed down to the six in a Terengganu shariah court belied the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department’s assertion that the government wanted to reform religious laws with an eye on rehabilitation instead of punishment.

LFL legal coordinator Zaid Malek argued that religion was a personal affair and not the state’s business.

He also said that while skipping compulsory Friday prayers was improper, it did not merit a criminal sentence that included prison time.

“Islam is a religion of compassion, justice, mercy and moderation.

“In the spirit of these Islamic principles, we urge the minister in charge of Islamic Affairs to look into this matter and resolve it as soon as possible,” he said.

Six men were reportedly fined between RM2,400 and RM2,500 as well as sentenced to one month’s imprisonment on Sunday after they pleaded guilty to deliberately missing compulsory Friday prayers, at the Hulu Terengganu Lower Shariah Court.

They could have been sentenced to a maximum of two years’ imprisonment for the offence under the state’s Islamic laws.