Saturday, April 01, 2006

Malaysian Man Fined For Missing Friday Prayers

A rather surprising story, even for Malaysia, appears in today’s edition of the New Straits Times. The Malaysian state of Kelantan has enacted a law known as the Kelantan Islamic Council and Malay Customs Enactment 1986 (Amendment 1994). It makes it an offense, punishable by a fine or up to 6 months in jail, for a Muslim to be absent from prayers in his sub-district for three consecutive Fridays. Mohamad Taib, in a rare prosecution, was charged under the Act. He claimed his absence was due to his being ill with asthma, but Syariah Court judge Mohd Hafiz Daud rejected the excuse, suggesting that straying from God is what caused Taib’s asthma in the first place. Taib paid a fine of RM300 (around $82US).