Malaysian Muslims Handed Jail Time For Skipped Prayers
MALAYSIAN MUSLIMS – Six Malaysian Muslims were reportedly given one-month jail time for skipping prayers which violates Islamic Laws.
This incident sparked fresh concern about the rising conservatism in the multi-ethnic country. Attending Friday prayers is an obligation for Muslim men in Malaysia.
However, it is quite rare to be given harsh punishment for such an offense. The men that were given jail time were aged 17 to 35 according to reports from ABS-CBN.
They were caught having a picnic by a waterfall instead of partaking in the prayers on a Friday. This is the holiest day of the week for Muslims.
As per the report, they were also fined between 2,400 and 2,500 ringgit ($575-$600) each. They plead guilty on Sunday in a sharia court in the northeastern state of Terengganu.
The individuals were still free on bail as they appeal the sentences. Adding to this, under Muslim-majority of Malaysia’s sharia laws they could have had a maximum of two years in jail.
This led critics to say that the case highlighted a traditionally tolerant brand of Islam in Malaysia that is being eroded. The news also came a week after four gay men were caned for having same-gender intercourse.
In Malaysia, there is a population of 32 million people. Within those numbers, 60 percent of them are substantial ethnic Indian and Chinese communities who don’t usually follow Islam.
According to Zaid Malek, the alleged failure to attend Friday prayers was a personal matter. He added that such acts can be considered improper by some Muslim societies.
However, he emphasized that excessive punishment is not the way to address the issue.
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