KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Islamic lawyers meeting in Malaysia want an existing ban on unwed Muslim couples from cuddling or holding hands to be extended to non-Muslims caught flirting with the faithful, a local newspaper said on Thursday.
Experts in sharia law, which currently applies only to Malaysia’s majority Muslims, proposed at a seminar that there should be a civil law to deal with non-Muslims found committing the Islamic crime of khalwat, or close proximity, with a Muslim.
“The Muslims can be sentenced in sharia courts and the non-Muslim partners can probably be sentenced in the civil courts, to be fair to both parties,” a senior Malaysian sharia-court judge told the Star newspaper.
Mohd Asri Abdullah, a sharia appeal-court judge, was quoted as saying the proposal would be forwarded to the Malaysia’s chief lawyer, the attorney-general, for government consideration.
The seminar also proposed penalties be increased for Muslims found guilty of khalwat, prostitution, gambling and consuming alcohol, to a maximum fine of 1,000 ringgit ($314) or five years’ jail or 12 strokes of a cane for lower-court offences.
Malaysia runs parallel sharia and civil legal systems, with sharia courts dealing only with Muslims and mainly in family disputes or in matters such as khalwat or apostasy.
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