Malaysia's Sisters in Islam Sued as Kartika Sari Dewi's Caning Cane Is Commuted

Beyond the Veil| The caning sentence of Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 33 has been commuted in Malaysia, just as we’re working on a story about Malaysia’s Sisters in Islam being sued for using the word Islam in their name. The group is the leader of Islamic resistance to caning, saying that the punishment is not in the Quran.

Sisters in Islam also requested an emergency global conference to be hosted in Malaysia to agree on what treatments of women are in Shariah law but not the Quaran. Muslim reformists argue that many of the laws governing women’s lives are tribal or patriarchal (our word) and not from the Prophet Muhammad.

The Kartika Sari Dewi case has lingered as a high profile one for the Malaysian government, who did quietly cane three women a few weeks ago. Kartika was sentenced to six strokes of the cane and a fine of 5,000 ringgit ($1,400) for drinking beer in December 2007 at a beach resort.

Adham Jamalullail, Kartika’s lawyer, told the Associated Press news agency that “as a substitution for the caning, the sultan has ordered Kartika to perform community service for three weeks”. via Al Jazeera

The dismissal comes at a time when AOC is calling on the LPGA not to play golf in Malaysia this fall as announced. The subject of caning and shariah laws for women should be clarified first.  Women golfers must be proactive in the forward movement of women’s rights and not the lessening of them, which is the threat in Malaysia.

Formerly Malaysia was a progressive nation for Muslim women. Now fundamentalists are determined to reduce women’s rights by observing, tracking and punishing women moreso than in the past. 

The LPGA must unfortunately bring politics and the status of women’s rights into decisions about where they golf around the world. We will track this subject religiously. Anne

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