Sisters in Islam, as one of the founding members of a joint action group called Malaysians Against Moral Policing (MAMP), has been organizing in response to the growing zeal of the state in policing the morality of citizens. MAMP seeks to highlight Malaysia's Shari'ah Criminal Offences Act, which is often used as a means to invade privacy, scapegoat women and sexual minorities, and violate freedom of religion under the pretext of upholding Islam. In addition, there are several secular laws that the state uses for the purposes of moral policing and restriction of freedom of expression. As a result, Malaysians of all faiths find it difficult to defend their rights for fear of being accused of insulting Islam (which carries heavy penalties), and also of being punished by the state. MAMP does this by building awareness among the Malaysian public about broader interpretations of Islam and human rights issues in order to influence decision makers to amend these discriminatory legal provisions.
The discourse on Islam is currently being highly contested at many different levels. On the one hand, there is increased Islamophobic discourse, aimed at persecuting Muslims and discrediting Islam as a religion that promotes violence. On the other hand, some governments of Muslim countries use Islamic discourse as a justification for curtailing the human rights of their citizens. There are also community leaders and religious leaders who preach fundamentalist and/or conservative interpretations of Islam that perpetuate and justify violence, repression and fear. This tactic is an attempt to bridge these issues by presenting alternative interpretations of Islam that are consonant with and uphold universal human rights. It provides insights for creating alternative avenues for opening discussions regarding fundamentalist Islamist and Islamophobic justifications for human rights violations. Most significantly, it engages the public and grassroots communities to enlarge the space for more inclusive and democratic public debate.
New Tactics in Human Rights does not advocate for or endorse specific tactics, policies or issues.