PUTRAJAYA: Islam does not discriminate against any race or religion so non-Muslims do not have to fear if common law and syariah courts were to be merged as suggested by a former Chief Justice.
Syariah Court Judge and Syariah Judicial Department director-general Datuk Ibrahim Lembut said such fears among non-Muslims were unwarranted.
“Islam will defend everybody. The impression that merging the two court systems will override the rights of the non-Muslims is wrong,” he told reporters after attending the International Seminar on Comparative Law at Marriott Hotel here on Tuesday.
The question is not about Islam defends everybody or merging of the two courts but the judges who interpret the laws and make their judgments. Judges are humans and some of the syariah court judgments are questionable. There are a lot of confusions especially divorce cases, post-divorce maintenance and children custody. Most of the victims are wives or mothers and most of the ex-husbands got away due to weak enforcements.
Then again, I may not the best person to talk about this matter.
There is a current syariah court case (Shah Alam) involving a friend here who her daughter is being taken away (abducted) by her former husband since few months ago. There case is still pending and she has not been allowed to meet, and recently even to talk to her only daughter (aged 10) by the father who is now re-married but away working in Africa. The unfortunate girl has not been going to school, in fear that she would be abducted by her mother to Dubai.
The mother and her current husband (convert) has been trying to get assistance from some authorities in Malaysia ever since at least to communicate and meet with her daughter. Upon knowing her restless efforts, like talking to welfare department, the judge was annoyed. The judge postponed the divorce settlement hearing early this month into a later date in January as a reprimand to the mother!
This is really not fair and any delay will delay the justice. The mother and daughter have to endure the suffering because the judge was annoyed, according to the lawyers.
Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done, especially in Syariah cases.