Officials of Malaysia are now considering a ban on transgender and gender-nonconforming people entering mosques and other religious places. This proposal followed the arrest of a Malaysian transgender celebrity in Thailand. The officials had accused Cosmetics entrepreneur Nur Sajat Kamaruzzaman of insulting Islam for wearing women’s clothes to a mosque. Nur failed to show up for a Sharia court hearing over the case from 2018. The Malaysian police and Islamic authorities then sent a huge search party after her. Weeks later, they found her seeking refuge in Thailand. Local media outlets reported that Sajat’s passport had been canceled and revoked.
In an interview with Malaysian news outlet The Star, Datuk Ahmad Marzuk, the deputy minister of the Prime Minister’s Department of Religious Affairs, said ” A man entering a mosque wearing headscarves is very inappropriate”. Referring to trans women as crossdressers, he also added that them entering the mosques’ female section would “disturb their privacy”.
Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor, an Islamic religious authority had something to add to Marzuk’s comments. He said he was very sympathetic to the group and hoped for their acceptance. He also went on to say “They should make an effort to adapt to the culture and norms of regular society,” and that trans people are “contrary to the laws of nature and religion”.
Religious authorities advised members of the LGBTQ+ to ‘respect the sanctity of Islamic houses of worship with appropriate attire’.
The proposal would mostly apply to federal territories in Malaysia like Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, a city with the parliament and other government administrations.