Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Public Caning of Malaysian Woman is Delayed
NY Times: Malaysian Authorities Postpone Whipping of Malaysian Woman, by Thomas Fuller:
Malaysian authorities gave a last-minute, temporary reprieve on Monday to a Muslim woman sentenced to whipping for drinking alcohol in a case that has stirred passions over the increasingly strict enforcement of Islamic law in recent years in the multicultural country. Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32-year-old nurse who confessed to violating Islamic laws by drinking beer in a hotel lobby last year, was picked up by prison authorities on Monday but was then quickly released. The authorities said Ms. Kartika’s punishment — which would be the first whipping for a woman under the country’s Islamic laws — would be carried out in September, after the Muslim holy month of Ramdan was over...
On paper, Islamic laws are strict in Malaysia: Muslims can be arrested and punished for snacking during the daylight hours of fasting during Ramadan, being in “close proximity” to someone from the opposite sex who is not their spouse, and drinking alcohol. But enforcement of Islamic law has been haphazard and many Muslims flout the laws with impunity...
Malaysia’s Islamic laws, which cover marriage, divorce and a specific range of issues related to religious customs, only apply to Muslims. Non-Muslims are subject to the country’s civil laws, which Malaysia inherited from Britain. Foreign Muslim tourists visiting the country, however, are subject to Islamic laws, according to Pawancheek Marican, partner at the law firm Wan Marican, Hamzah & Shaik and a part-time professor of Islamic studies.