PETALING JAYA: Sisters in Islam has questioned whether a Penal Code law against hurting religious feelings is being wielded on Muslims who insult other faiths, following the conviction of a non-Muslim woman for insulting Prophet Muhammad.
In a statement today, the Muslim women’s rights group said the term “religious feelings” under Section 298 of the Penal Code should also be applied to actions against non-Muslim religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism.
“We are disappointed that the law is being used arbitrarily against religious minorities,” it said.
“How about the Muslim politicians or public figures who openly make comments that are insulting of other faiths?
“Are they being charged under the same law as well? Why is there selective prosecution of such offences?” it added.
SIS said it was concerned that the woman was sentenced to six months’ jail and fined RM15,000 by the Ipoh Magistrate’s Court as she was found guilty on three counts of insulting the Prophet under Section 298 which allows punishment over “deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person.”
It said this law had been used predominantly against non-Muslims and their actions deemed harmful to Islam.
“As a society which believes in peace and unity, we should be promoting inter-religious harmony through dialogue,” SIS said.
It called for Section 298 to be reviewed and determined if it was in the best interest of all Malaysians.
“What we need is an open environment for discussion and dialogue to overcome our ignorance, prejudice and misunderstanding about the religions that we practice here in Malaysia,” SIS said.
Housewife Tham Yut Mooi, 46, was handed the sentence after being found guilty of insulting the Prophet on May 4 last year.
Section 298 carries a maximum jail-time of one year or fine or both.