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Press Statement: Sisters in Islam Against the Unjust Deportation of Hamza Kashgari

Sisters in Islam (SIS) is deeply disappointed that the Malaysian government has deported the Saudi blogger Hamza Kashgari without due process. This deportation was carried out despite the absence of an extradition treaty between the two countries and the probability that Hamza might face the death penalty in Saudi Arabia for alleged blasphemy.

Home Minister Dato Seri Hishammudin Hussein’s statement that we have an agreement with other countries to always return their citizens should they ask for them is therefore questionable. In the absence of an extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia, under what legal provision did Hishammudin act in deporting Hamza Kashgari?

Secondly, from what we understand, Hamza Kashgari’s lawyers were denied access to see their client since 10 February 2012 and were not informed of his impending date of deportation. In fact, a court order was granted by Justice Rohana Yusof to stop the deportation. Therefore, we demand to know which legal provision was used by the Malaysian government to arrest and detain Hamza Kashgari.

Thirdly, the Saudi penalty for blasphemy is death – a punishment found neither in the Quran nor under Malaysian law. What Allah exhorts in the Quran in Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 159 is this: “And it was by God’s grace that thou [O Prophet] didst deal gently with thy followers: for if thou hadst been harsh and hard of heart, they would indeed have broken away from thee. Pardon them, then, and pray that they be forgiven. And take counsel with them in all matters of public concern; then, when thou hast decided upon a course of action, place thy trust in God: for, verily, God loves those who place their trust in Him.” Hamza Kashgari withdrew his tweet and made a public apology – surely the Islamic and humane way would be to show him compassion and forgiveness.

Fourthly, do we not have any autonomy in deciding our own policies, or do we, as Hishammuddin implies, adhere to the whims of countries we perceive as more powerful? Do we no longer enjoy any independence in deciding what happens within our borders? The Malaysian government should have exercised discretion in favour of Hamza Kashgari and allowed for due process within our court system.

Sadly, despite having set up the Global Movement of Moderates recently in an attempt to promote Malaysia as a moderate Muslim country, the Malaysian government has failed to match its rhetoric with its actions. Nor indeed did it heed or advocate God’s Mercy and Forgiveness as found in the Quran.

Sisters in Islam
13 February 2012