PETALING JAYA: Social activist Marina Mahathir today denounced the Federal Territories Religious Department (Jawi) for its alleged persecution of Kassim Ahmad, describing its pending court case against him as a “travesty of justice”.
Responding to yesterday’s FMT reports concerning the controversial scholar’s move to apply for a judicial review of Jawi’s procedures, Marina said the department’s actions in the case were an acknowledgement of its own weakness and Kassim’s strength.
Reacting to Kassim’s narration of his arrest and interrogation, she said Jawi had gone overboard in treating a “fragile old man” as if he was a criminal.
Kassim, 80, has been charged with denigrating Islam by making a statement to the effect that some Muslims idolise the Prophet Muhammad and by asserting that Islam does not require women to cover their hair. He is also charged with violating a ban on expressing those views and citing two banned books that he wrote.
“The ongoing case brought by Jawi against Kassim Ahmad is a travesty of justice,” Marina said.
“Not only has Jawi treated a fragile old man unnecessarily like a criminal but has curbed his freedom of speech as protected by the Federal Constitution. Instead of responding to his statements with well-reasoned arguments, Jawi has chosen to arrest him, thereby acknowledging not only that he is influential but that they are weak.
“I hope that wisdom will prevail.”
~ Free Malaysia Today