Mais allowed to challenge SIS's legal action against fatwa

PETALING JAYA: The Federal Court granted the Selangor religious authorities its leave application in allowing them to challenge the Sisters in Islam's (SIS) legal challenge against a fatwa (religious edict) which labelled them as "deviant".

Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif who chaired the three-man bench said the five questions of law submitted by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and two others sued by SIS needed to be discussed in court.

Despite numerous past decisions (by the Federal Court), Md Raus stated that the questions posed had an effect on several provisions in the Federal Constitution.

The two other judges on the panel were Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin and Tan Sri Abu Samah Nordin.

On Oct 31, 2014, SIS co-founder Zainah Mahfoozah Anwar and former federal minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim filed an application for a court order to revoke the “fatwa” decision that SIS subscribed to liberalism and religious pluralism, and had deviated from Islamic teachings.

On March 2, the Court of Appeal said the civil court had jurisdiction to hear SIS' complaint.

Selangor state legal adviser Nik Suhaimi Nik Sulaiman represented the government, Yusfarizal Yussoff the Selangor Islamic Religious Affairs Council and Sulaiman Abdullah the Selangor Fatwa Committee.

Counsel A Surendra Ananth appeared for SIS and two others.