A Muslim man in Kota Bahru, Kelantan has been ordered to attend counselling after an officer of the Kelantan Islamic Religious Department (JAIK) caught him wearing shorts in public
Wan Khairul Hayyee Wali, 30, was told that he had breached the Syariah Criminal Enactment for exposing his knees, thus revealing his aurat (areas of modesty which must be covered, beginning from the navel down to the knees for Muslim men).
The 30-year-old man was issued the notice when he was buying food from a burger stall while on his way to play futsal. He was also quoted to have said that he was not aware that wearing shorts in public was an offence.
According the The Star, Khairul tried to explain to the religious enforcement officer that he was on his way to play futsal and and had gotten down from his car to buy a burger for his wife.
"If I did not stop to buy a burger, I would never have known that it is an offence to wear shorts even when we are on the way to play sports. If it is an offence, they have to make it clear to the public. How are we supposed to know that it is an offence because even football players wear shorts," he said.
"Seriously, they can't expect me to wear a sarong to play futsal," he added.
The notice compels Khairul to attend a counselling session next month. If he fails to do so, he would be called to appear before the Syariah court, where he may be fined RM1,000.
Khairul has said that he will be attending the counselling session.
In light of the matter, JAIK explained that the ruling is not new as it was introduced several years ago
"This is not the first case. We have issued similar notices to three other men for same offences in our checks since early this year," said JAIK assistant chief (enforcement division) Mohd Fadzuli Mohd Zain, adding that those who attend the counselling sessions are not required to pay any fines for the offence.
JAIK also maintains that the rule is strictly applicable to Muslims only
"We do not take action against non-Muslims. We do not even take action if a female non-Muslim wears shorts in public. We just want Muslims to dress decently when in public spaces, in keeping with our religious teachings," said a JAIK officer, as quoted by The Star, adding that Khairul would not have been penalised if he'd worn shorts on the futsal court.