Thursday, March 04, 2010

Women launch petition against caning

Three women have started a petition against the recent controversial caning of the three Muslim women.

Without any ties to political parties or non-governmental organisations, the trio initiated the online petition on the basis that the average Malaysian needs to speak up.

The recent caning of the three Muslim women led homemaker Diana, teacher Sheela (who wished to be known only by their first names) and lawyer Animah Kosai, to discuss the issue.

And from this was born the idea of a petition to give voice to the silent Malaysian.

NONE"The government is saying that it is all right to cane women for 'crimes' that should not even be crimes in the first place," said Animah.

"But is that what Malaysians feel?"

She added that the petition is to prove that there are many who are against this archaic form of disciplining and that they hoped the petition will be an avenue for people to speak up against the government's action as all they have to do is just to sign it.

"We hope to show the government that there are many who condemn this form of punishment," she said.

Sheela said that it is high time for other opinions to be taken into account.

"This is what I feel and if you feel the same, you should have your say too," she added.

Humane perspective

Sheela said that they are addressing the caning issue from the humane perspective.

"We do not care about the religious perspective, but rather we are looking at these young women as humans like you and me," she said.

The youngest caned was only 17 and according to Sheela's experience as a teacher, the girl might not have the mental capacity of an adult, and yet was subjected to such harsh punishment.

"She might only have the mentality of a 13-year-old perhaps because of her socially disadvantaged background," she said.

She added that there should have been counselling instead.

Animah conceded that not enough has been done for these women; rather they are subjected to humiliation.

"The women may be abandoned by their families or spouses and they have just given birth recently. I do not believe that this is what Islam intended, to condemn underprivileged single mothers," she said.

"What about the men who were involved?" she asked.

All these, she said, are important issues that have not been addressed.

The petition which started last week through word of mouth and emails had already garnered 88 signatures.

news courtesy of Malaysiakini

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