Apex court to hear SIS forum appeal over fatwa labelling it as deviant on Feb 27, next year

02 Nov 2023 05:07pm
Picture for illustrative purposes - FILE PIX
Picture for illustrative purposes - FILE PIX
PUTRAJAYA - The Federal Court has set Feb 27, next year to hear woman’s rights group SIS Forum (Malaysia)’s appeal to challenge a fatwa issued by the Selangor religious authorities in 2014 which had labelled the company as deviant from the teachings of Islam.

SIS Forum’s lawyer A. Surendra Ananth and lawyer Majdah Muda representing Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) told Bernama the appeal hearing date has been fixed on Feb 27, next year following a case management before Federal Court deputy registrar Suhaila Haron today.

On Aug 21, this year, the Federal Court granted leave to SIS Forum and its co-founder Zainah Mahfoozah Anwar to proceed with its appeal against the Court of Appeal 2-1 majority decision.

SIS Forum and Zainah were unsuccessful in their legal challenge at the High Court to quash the fatwa. Their judicial review application was dismissed by the High Court on August 27, 2019.

They appealed to the Court of Appeal but their appeal was dismissed on March 14, this year. They then filed an application in the Federal Court to obtain leave to appeal.

The Court of Appeal held that the fatwa prepared by the Selangor State Fatwa Committee was not a final decision and thus cannot be challenged through a judicial review application.

The fatwa, gazetted by the Selangor State government on July 31, 2014, had declared that SIS Forum, any individual, as well as groups that adopted the deviant ideologies of liberalism and pluralism, were deviating from the teachings of Islam.

The fatwa also directed that any publications containing liberal and plural views of Islam should be banned and confiscated and further directs the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to censor social websites which goes against Islamic teaching and hukum syarak.

The Federal Court three-man bench led by Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim had allowed the leave application with 10 questions of law to be argued in the substantive appeal.
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One of the question is whether a fatwa, once published in the Gazette under sections 48(6), Administration of the Religion of Islam (State of Selangor) Enactment 2003, is a form of subsidiary law and/or delegated legislation. - BERNAMA

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