Parliamentary Proposal to Empower Shariah Courts in Malaysia
The president of the Islamist party, PAS, is gathering support for a proposal before Parliament that would amend Act 355 to remove the limitations placed on Shariah courts to mete out punishments. Act 355 currently places a limit of 3 years in jail, whipping of not more than 6 strokes, and fines of not more than RM5,000 ($1,192 USD). If the majority members of Parliament support the proposal, the Federal government will then be tasked with crafting a bill to amend Act 355. The proposal was passed unanimously by the legislature of Kelantan state on March 19, 2015. If indeed Act 355 is amended, PAS, who formed the state government in Kelantan, will be able to enforce hudud law.
“Act 355 is a prison against implementing the true Islamic Shariah laws,” wrote an Islamist party spokesman. “The laws bow down to the Federal Constitution. It is an obvious idolatry.” The hudud law, a set of laws and punishments specified by Allah in the Quran, is also seen as a subset of the Sharia Law. Under the hudud Law, theft, robbery, illicit sex, alcohol consumption and apostasy are considered offences punishable by bodily penalties such as flogging and amputation. These strict laws primarily govern Muslims, but Christians have been affected too, as is the case in Indonesia and Brunei, where such laws are partly and fully implemented. Join with the church in Malaysia in praying against this campaign by Islamist hardliners to turn secular Malaysia into a Shariah-compliant country. Pray also for secret believers, who will undoubtedly face greater risks for their faith in Christ if these Shariah courts are given more power.
Our Father, the One True and Living God, we come to You on behalf of fellow Christians in Malaysia, especially those in Kelantan state. We pray against the decline of basic human rights and against the full implementation of Shariah law, not only for Christians, but also for other minorities and Muslims. We pray that You will foil the efforts of those in Parliament who would fight to amend the current protections. And we pray for Your church in Indonesia that You will shield them from persecution even while opening up opportunities for the gospel to go forth in great power. In the name of Jesus, who “rules the peoples with equity and guides the nations of the earth.” Amen.