Netizens divided over religious raids on couples and transgenders featured in a documentary over a UK news channel recently.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians are split over the actions, featured in a short documentary by a UK news outlet, of religious authorities nabbing unmarried Muslim couples for “khalwat” and transgender sex workers for cross-dressing.

Commenting on the Channel 4 News documentary, uploaded on Facebook, one Syamil Abd Hamid said that as a Malaysian, he had “no problem with this (the religious raids).”

He also argued that while the nation was not as open as those in the West, Malaysia had its own culture and tradition and added, “Westerners, please don’t tell us what to do lah.”

Izzat Yusoff meanwhile said the nation had its own reasons for carrying out religious raids, and stressed that such initiatives affected only the Muslims.

Non-Muslims, he said, were free to do what they wanted while Muslims themselves only wanted to prevent “this dark entity” from spreading. Westerners he said should respect local culture. “If you come to Asia but (are) unable to understand our culture, just sit tight in your rooms.”

One Zion Ruin, who identified himself as a Malaysian Muslim, said those living outside Malaysia should refrain from criticising about what they did not understand and mind their own business. 

“Take your human rights elsewhere. We are doing splendidly fine here in Malaysia.”

Activist Siti Kasim however, said those who supported raids by the so-called religious police were “ignorant, foolish Muslims” who felt they knew what was best for others. “I wish they (religious police) just mind their own business and stop regulating our lives.”

Alimuddin Zafrullah said he abhorred what he saw, and argued that in Islam, “there’s privacy”, and no one should intrude on another’s. Sins, he also argued, were not always criminal in nature.

Nor Huda Mohd Izam meanwhile lashed out at Muslims who supported “such atrocious abuse of power.” None of the Muslim leaders of the past, she claimed, advocated the shaming of individuals for activities they engaged in behind closed doors.

“If you think what is happening is okay, you are pompous and vain and think of yourself higher than Prophet Muhammad himself who was the gentlest soul and most definitely the reason I still believe in the faith I was brought up in.”

In the video which runs for almost three minutes, Channel 4 News journalist Marcel Theroux joined officers from an Islamic department as they raided the hotel room of a Muslim couple who they suspected of committing khalwat (close proximity). The journalist also spoke to transgenders who were frequently arrested for cross-dressing, a form of behaviour banned in Malaysia.


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