The All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) is alarmed that activist Maryam Lee is being investigated by the Selangor State Islamic Department (JAIS) under Section 10 (a) of the Syariah Criminal Enactment (Selangor) 1995, which criminalises “any person who by words which are capable of being heard or read or by drawings, marks or other forms of representation which are visible or capable of being visible or in any other manner: (a) insults or brings into contempt the religion of Islam”.
This is especially concerning as while no distinguishable reason has been given as to what the investigation is about, Maryam herself believes that she is most likely being investigated for her book which documents her personal journey and her decision to not veil herself, titled ‘Unveiling Choice’.
Maryam’s book is an important voice that talks about her lived experiences and her personal, emotional, mental and spiritual struggle with understanding the concept of ‘choice’ and personal identity – all of which are her within her rights in Islam.
AWAM also notes that this move to investigate Maryam’s book which carries her voice and experience to the public, seems excessive given that the book neither glorifies nor villifies the practice of donning the headscarf. Contrary to that, the book expresses Maryam’s deep desire to understand herself in relation to the reality she is confronted with, which is allowed under Article 10 of the Constitution.
AWAM demands that JAIS drops all investigations against Maryam Lee immediately as women’s voices and lived experiences must be nurtured and given the space to grow and develop.
All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
29 OCTOBER 2019