State fatwa councils blocking entry of women judges, Shariah chief judge says

The Shariah court in Shah Alam. Malaysia's  top Islamic court judge Tan Sri Ibrahim Lembut has spoken out against state fatwa councils for barring women judges. — File  pic
The Shariah court in Shah Alam. Malaysia's top Islamic court judge Tan Sri Ibrahim Lembut has spoken out against state fatwa councils for barring women judges. — File pic

BANGI, Feb 16 — The country’s top Islamic court judge Tan Sri Ibrahim Lembut faulted today state fatwa councils for barring the entry of women judges in the Shariah justice system, even as he admitted the gender had better academic qualifications compared to their male counterparts.

He said the National Fatwa Council had agreed to have female Shariah court judges but some state fatwa councils refused to follow suit.

“Some states just don't want to accept women judges although the National Fatwa Council says otherwise.

“We are unable to do anything as the state fatwa councils are the top authority in their respective states,” Ibrahim, who is also the Shariah Judiciary Department director-general, told a news conference here after a dialogue with Shariah court judges and officers.

He said currently, only Malacca, the Federal Territories, Kelantan, Perlis, and Sabah allows Muslim women to become Shariah judges.

Ibrahim said many Muslim women scored better academic grades than men but were passed up when it came to promotions in the Shariah judiciary.

“A lot of them have CGPAs exceeding 3.0 and excellent academic records,” he said, adding that the Shariah court however was pushing to change this tendency since 2012.

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