MAIS declaration that Sisters in Islam is 'deviant' - High Court will decide - Koranmu English
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MAIS declaration that Sisters in Islam is 'deviant' - High Court will decide

MAIS declaration that Sisters in Islam is 'deviant' - High Court will decide

KUALA LUMPUR: In a suit filed by Sisters in Islam (SIS) against an Islamic fatwa (ruling or edict) labelling the organisation as "deviant&qu…

MAIS declaration that Sisters in Islam is 'deviant' - High Court will decide

KUALA LUMPUR: In a suit filed by Sisters in Islam (SIS) against an Islamic fatwa (ruling or edict) labelling the organisation as "deviant", the High Court will examine whether civil courts have the power to rule over what seems to be a religious matter.

The case began in 2014, when it declared that any individual or groups which adopted the ideologies of "liberalism" and "pluralism", including SIS, were Islamic "deviants", as decided by the Selangor Fatwa Committee and Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Majlis Agama Islam Selangor or MAIS).

MAIS' Counsel Majdah Muda told reporters that among the issues to be heard by Judicial Commissioner Faizah Jamaluddin was whether civil courts have the power of judicial review involving a fatwa.

Majdah said they were also challenging whether the third defendan t (former Umno and PKR politician) Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim has locus standi (legal standing) to challenge the fatwa.

Apart from the issue of jurisdiction, the court will also look into the merits of the case.

Majdah said this included whether the fatwa contradicted the Federal Constitution and whether MAIS had acted beyond its powers.

"We must now start afresh. JC Faizah ordered parties to file written submissions by Nov 2 and reply by Nov 16," she said.

She said the next case management has been set for Nov 23, when the court will fix the trial dates.

On Sept 25, the Federal Court seven-man bench chaired by Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjun ordered the suit to be remitted back to the High Court to decide on the issues of jurisdiction and merits.

The six other (Muslim) judges on the Federal Court panel were Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop, Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim, Justices Tan Sri Azahar M ohamed, Tan Sri Aziah Ali, Datuk Rohana Yusuf and Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh.

A consent order was recorded by the court and signed by counsels from both parties.

The High Court was directed to start the case afresh and decide on all issues raised by parties. The decision by the Court of Appeal on March 2 last year (about whether a civil court had jurisdiction to hear a fatwa case) was set aside.

On Oct 31, 2014, SIS through its company SIS Forum (Malaysia), had filed the application to challenge the decision by MAIS and the Selangor Fatwa Committee declaring it to be deviating from Islamic teachings.

The Selangor state government was also named as a respondent.

The Selangor Fatwa Committee and MAIS had declared that any individual or groups which adopted the ideologies of "liberalism" and "pluralism" were deviating from the teachings of Islam.

SIS Forum had sought an order in 2014 to quash that decision.

It had also sought a declaration that SIS, which was formed as a company limited by guarantee under the Companies Act 1965, was not subject to the decisions of the Selangor Fatwa Committee and MAIS.

However, the High Court dismissed SIS' challenge to the Selangor fatwa because it ruled that civil courts did not have jurisdiction to decide over the issue of a religious fatwa.

Justice Hanipah Farikullah held then that a fatwa was a matter of Islamic law and came solely under the jurisdiction of the syariah courts.

The Court of Appeal had on March 2 last year allowed SIS to challenge the fatwa.

On July 11 last year, the case took another turn when the Federal Court allowed MAIS, the Selangor Fatwa Committee and the state government to appeal against the Court of Appeal's decision.

Related NewsSource: Google News Muhammadiyah Network: Koranmu English

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