Its reporter Marcel Theroux tags along as officers conduct a raid in a hotel and is clearly perplexed as to why it is wrong for Muslims to have sexual relations if not married.
PETALING JAYA: Accompanying a team of officers from one of the country’s state Islamic departments, a journalist from Channel 4 News documents how a typical “khalwat” (close proximity) raid is carried out on unsuspecting and unmarried Muslim couples in a hotel.
Posted on YouTube yesterday by Channel 4 News, UK’s award-winning flagship evening news programme, the 2:45-minute video titled “Muslim, Trans and banned in Malaysia”, opens with the scene of three officers in black uniforms knocking on the door of room 509, identifying themselves as “religious police” and requesting the door be opened.
Supers appear on the screen saying: “If you’re Muslim, and gay, trans or having extra-marital sex, these people are after you. It’s midnight and the religious police are out in force, heading to another ‘crime scene’.”
Later in the documentary, it is revealed the three officers identified room 509 after having gone through the hotel’s registry looking for Malay names after having received a complaint from a member of the public that there was a couple engaged in “close proximity” in one of the rooms.
Channel 4 News’s reporter Marcel Theroux, who is with the team, is visibly astonished at the raid taking place before his eyes and says later: “You want to be respectful of other people’s culture, but on the other hand, you remember being 24 years old, and you think is it possible for me, as an adult, being arrested for being in a hotel room with my girlfriend?”
The officer however explains that if the couple, whose room they are raiding are not married, they will be arrested and taken to the Islamic department’s office for further investigation.
Supers appear on the screen, saying: “If found guilty of having sex outside of marriage, they may face two years in prison.”
After the hotel room raid, the officers head to an area popular with transgender sex workers.
These women too face arrest for not dressing according to their gender. “A man obviously must be a man and a woman must behave like a woman,” the officer tells Theroux, adding it is important to follow “divine laws and Syariah law.”
One transgender interviewed says the officers often use teenagers in plain clothes as “it’s easier for them to catch us.”
Another transgender said she had a tough time with the officers, and had been arrested numerous times because she was a Muslim.
The documentary ends with the supers: “Human rights groups say Malaysia is one of the worst places for LGBT people.”