The fixation among some sections of the Muslim community to dish out punishment in the name of Islam goes against the understanding of the religion, says prominent Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan.
"If you want to be faithful to Islam in Malaysia by starting with punishing the victims, you are starting with the completely wrong understanding of Islam.
"Anyone who is now saying Islam in Malaysia (should) start with implementing hudud and punishing (people), does not get it. That is not us (Muslims)," he told a public lecture on Islam at the 12th International Youth Gathering in Ampang this afternoon.
Tariq, who is a professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, said this in response to a question by PKR's Bukit Katil MP Shamsul Iskandar (right) about the implementation of hudud in Malaysia.
The Islamic scholar stressed that Islam does not revolve around punishments.
"Islam in Malaysia is (about) more education, more justice, more freedom and less discrimination. Let us start with what is difficult to tackle," he added.
Tariq quipped that as the country wanted to start with less corruption, it would do well to punish leaders instead.
However, Tariq said it cannot be denied that corporal punishments and stoning is part of the syariah penal code.
Nevertheless, he noted that the religious text on this aspect has to be properly scrutinised and its context considered, before trying to implement them.
"These texts, we should discuss about them on what they say and in which context. As long as the discussion is not there, then it should stop," he said.
He added that even now, Muslims in the US, Pakistan and Turkey have been looking at a moratorium on the death penalty.