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15 Apr 2016

Malaysia’s religious police raid charity gala with transgender guests

The event organiser of charity gala and beauty pageant has been charged with promoting vice.

The country’s Federal Territories Islamic Department (known as JAWI) raided a dinner and beauty contest organised by trans women in Kuala Lumpur on April 3, according to lawyer and activist Siti Kasim.

The event was a closed-door function at the upmarket Renaissance hotel and was attended by around 200 trans women.

According to local media reports, around 10 JAWI officers raided the event around 10pm on the grounds that it violated a fatwa against beauty pageants.

“The officer told me that it’s against the law to have a beauty contest — it’s “haram” in Malaysia, based on a fatwa,’ said Kasim who also was one of the dinner guests.

Kasim was forced to call the police after the JAWI officers refused to allow people to leave the dinner and did not produce any warrant.

After the police arrived, the guests were allowed to leave but Kasim along with the event’s organiser, Ira Sophia, were taken to Dang Wangi police station.

They are being charged with ‘promoting vice’ under the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act of 1996, in which Muslim women are banned from participating in beauty pageants. Sophia will appear in court on May 5.

Muslim NGO Komuniti Muslim Universal (KMU) slammed the actions by JAWI. The organisation’s representative, Ahmed Salami argued that it was unjust for Sophia to be charged with promoting ‘vice’ as the event did not cause harm to others, and had no “passive or active intention to force people to embrace transgenderism.”

A video of the incident can be seen below:

Reader's Comments

1. 2016-04-16 14:02  
that is not promoting good tourism for your country :(
2. 2016-04-16 16:50  
Ha ha ha ha.

Lots of screaming and shouting.

Remember that to video something you have to not drop the camera.

Wouldn't these people not be recognised as women anyway?

And Muslim law only applies to Muslims.

Finally, beauty pageants are pretty evil things, full of corruption and exploitation. All the contestants wanting peace and never meaning it.

If they did storm the function they have good grounds to prosecute. Follow the legal process.
3. 2016-04-17 11:47  
The law can and always has been manipulated to serve people in power and they can represent the majority or the minority.
4. 2016-04-17 15:41  
Campaign then. Make the minority accepted.

Why was this a behind closed doors event?

Why the need for a beauty pageant, of all divisive events?

5. 2016-04-18 13:15  
Tourist! Take notice. Do you really want to spend your tourist dollars in a backward country that discriminates. Boycott! Boycott! Boycott! Spread the word.
6. 2016-04-18 14:13  
Luckily I don't have any dollars.

Living in a proper country I have pounds sterling.
7. 2016-04-19 01:04  
its about time this country came into the 21st century,,,,,no better than Saudi Arabia etc etc,, very sad that religion rules some peoples lives and laws,,,,, Malaysian's ,think for yourself ,,,after all its your life.
AS previously ,tourists give this backward country a boycott.
8. 2016-04-20 23:04  
Muslim laws are only for muslims?

What a nonsense argument! Are Muslims no humans you mean?
9. 2016-04-21 15:14  
Ignorance is rife.
10. 2016-04-21 18:05  
Indeed Ignorance...... !
11. 2016-04-22 06:22  
12. 2016-04-28 19:26  
I would urge all LGBT tourists to boycott that country until things change for the better!

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