KUALA LUMPUR: Islam has been “hijacked” by conservatives and fundamentalists, claims Sisters in Islam executive director Ratna Osman.
Speaking at the G25-organised Islam in a Constitutional Democracy forum here on Sunday, Ratna said that such conservatives considered differing opinions to be un-Islamic or sinful.
She also criticised raids conducted by religious authorities to crack down on khalwat.
"Can religion be used to justify raids to uphold morality and decency of people? We have researched the Syariah criminal laws and we say Malaysians cannot be punished under two criminal laws. This is double jeopardy," said Ratna.
She also used the 1997 case of three women who were arrested, charged and punished within a two-week period for participating in the Miss Malaysia Petite pageant to highlight selective prosecution.
"Only women have been charged with indecent dressing. Women have been charged with taking part in beauty pageants while men are not penalised for participating in bodybuilding competitions," said Ratna.
She pointed out that such prosecution was in breach of Article 8 of the Federal Constitution which prohibits discriminatory prosecutions, adding that these acts gave the wrong impression of Islam.
"We should not fear because Islam is so beautiful," said Ratna.