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Malaysia Sharia Law: Supreme Court ‘cancels’ Sharia law in Malaysia, radicals enraged, came out in protest – malaysia supreme court cancels sharia based state laws

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Kuala Lumpur: The Supreme Court of Malaysia has taken a big decision, which is going to anger Islamic fundamentalists. The Supreme Court on Friday struck down Sharia-based criminal laws in Kelantan state. The Supreme Court said that this is the right of the federal government and such laws are an encroachment on it. Islamists have condemned the Supreme Court’s decision, saying it could weaken religious courts. The Kelantan state government is run by the opposition.

The nine-judge Federal Court, by an 8-1 majority, invalidated 16 laws enacted by the Kelantan state government, covering issues ranging from sodomy, sexual harassment, incest and ‘cross dressing’ to perjury. There was provision for punishment for crimes up to death. The court said that the state cannot make Islamic laws on these subjects, as they fall under Malaysian federal law.

Two tier legal system in Malaysia

Malaysia has a two-tier legal system, with personal and family matters for Muslims governed by Sharia and civil law. Ethnic Malays, all of whom are considered Muslims under Malaysian law, constitute two-thirds of the 33 million people. This population also includes sizable Chinese and Indian minorities. Kelantan is a rural northeastern state, where 97 percent Muslims live. The ruling on Friday was filed in 2022 on behalf of two Muslim women from Kelantan. The conservative Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS, has ruled the state since 1990.

Threat to Sharia law?

Nick Allin Nick Abdul Rashid, a lawyer who challenged the state laws, said the court’s decision affirms the Malaysian Constitution as the supreme law of the country. Hundreds of supporters of the Pan Malaysian Islamic Party gathered outside the Federal Court demanding protection of Sharia. PAS secretary-general Taqiuddin Hassan said, ‘We are very sad today, it is a Black Friday for Islamic Sharia laws. Now Sharia laws may face the same risk in other states too.

(With agency input.)

This post originally appeared on navbharattimes.indiatimes.com

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