September 6 will mark a historic event in India for LGBT community as the country decriminalises homosexuality. Meanwhile in Malaysia, two Malaysian women were canned publicly at a sharia court on Monday after they had been pleaded guilty to charges under Islamic laws forbidding lesbian sex. This prompted an outcry from human rights activists who described the punishment as torture. However, on Thursday, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamad denounced the caning in a video posted on his Twitter account and said that it ‘did not reflect the justice or compassion of Islam.’ The public whipping was slammed by rights activists as a grave miscarriage of justice. Two Malaysian Women Caned Under Islamic Law for Lesbian Sex.
In the video he said that it was the women’s first offence which warranted a lighter sentence, such as counselling. The 93-year-old leader said, “This gives a bad impression of Islam. It is important to show Islam is not a cruel religion that likes to impose harsh sentences to humiliate others.” The caning has sparked outrage and raised fears about the treatment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Mahatir’s government swept into power in May but has been unconvincing in its handling of matters relating to race, religion and minorities in the multi-racial country, as reported by Reuters. Homosexuality Now Legal in India: List of Countries Where Same-Sex Marriage Is Not a Crime.
Lawyers and activists said the women, aged 22 and 32 were seated on stools facing the judges and given six strokes from a cane on their backs by female prison officers. More than 100 people witnessed the caning in sharia courtroom in northeast Terengganu state. Malaysia follows a dual-track justice system. Malaysia comprises of nearly 31 million people as Muslims who are governed by Islamic courts in family, marriage and personal issues.