Criminal punishment for skipping Friday prayers is not proportionate
4 December 2019
Lawyers for Liberty is highly concerned with the recent incident in Terengganu where six men, including three teenagers, were sentenced to one month in prison and fined for skipping Friday prayers.
The decision and sentence are in stark contrast to the statement by the Minister for Islamic Affairs Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, that the government is reviewing the legal system with a view to making penalties more rehabilitative, rather than punitive. The alleged failure to attend Friday prayers is a personal matter which the State should not govern or interfere.
It is high time to reconsider the rationale of imposing a prison sentence and fine for mere skipping of Friday prayers and similar offences in the first place. While such acts may be considered improper by some in Muslim society, criminal punishment is excessive and not the way to address them.
Islam is a religion of compassion, justice, mercy and moderation. In the spirit of these Islamic principles, we urge the Minister in charge of Islamic Affairs to look into this matter and resolve it as soon as possible.
Lawyers For Liberty