Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Brave Muslims defy sharia

From AsiaNews:
Minority Muslims defend the constitution against sharia

A March 12 forum organised by 15 Muslim associations, human rights groups as well as the Malaysian Bar Council reiterated the need to valorise and uphold the current constitution against the encroachment by Sharia law in Malaysia.

“It’s time to take [the constitution] down from the shelf, dust it and use it on a daily basis. The federal constitution must be treated as the most important document in our life because it is the supreme law,” said Cyrus Das, a well-known lawyer.

The constitution, which is a legacy of British rule, had lost much of its lustre . . . until now, that is. Its article 11 for instance upholds freedom of religion, but in day-to-day life the Sunni majority discriminates against people of other faiths, including Muslim minorities. For this reason, the forum is launching a nationwide petition to reassert the primacy of the constitution as the country's supreme law.

…“Politicians, judges and civil servants [. . .] see themselves as Muslims first and citizens second," said lawyer Malik Imtiaz.

“There is an urgent need to remind people that Malaysia is not an Islamic but a secular state and the constitution is supreme law of the land,” he said. “Sharia should not be applied to all citizens”.


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