Wednesday, 3 March 2010

marina's article that wasn't published

marina's article that was supposed to be published in her weekly columned was censored! read from her blog.

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When we want to compete with anyone in any field we seek those who are better than us. And we keep going until finally we are recognized as the best. For example, a tennis player starts at the unranked bottom and tries to play and win against better players until finally there is nobody to beat.

We do not however insist that everybody comes down to our level or to play badly in order for us to win.

This is what puzzles me about the syariah courts in our country. In 1988 a clause was inserted into our Constitution that has been interpreted as having erected a Berlin Wall between the syariah and the civil courts. Basically Article 121(1A) said “the courts referred to in Clause (1) shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the syariah courts." This has caused untold problems because real life sometimes dictates that some issues cross over both jurisdictions. But leave that aside for a moment.

Although the new clause did not say that the two separate courts were equal to one another, there are some people who are of the view that the syariah court is superior to the civil courts simply because syariah law is deemed of a higher order than civil laws. This is because apparently God made syariah laws while mere human beings made the civil laws. Never mind the fact that human beings have been changing syariah laws over the years, for instance, by loosening laws that protected women from losing all their property to their divorced husbands. Like other laws in this country, syariah laws have to be drafted, tabled and passed through our various lawmaking bodies whether at the State or Federal levels. This process leaves a lot of human fingerprints all over them.

Civil laws are drafted, tabled and passed through Parliament. The difference is that at the tabling stage , they have to be debated before they are passed. The quality of the debate may be sometimes wanting but debated they are. This process provides some sort of ‘quality control’ over the laws so that they are hopefully current, reflect realities and are just.

for the rest of the article, see marina's blog here:

http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/2010/03/column-that-wasnt.html

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