Kelantan's On A Religious Mission To Catch Muslim Women In Tight Clothes
The Kelantan Islamic Religious Affairs Department (JAHEAIK) has begun its Ops Aurat operations, arresting 31 Muslim women in the first week of Ramadan
The Kelantan religious department has been detaining Muslim women for not wearing tudung (head scarf) or donning inappropriate clothing like tight-fitted pants and tops.
On 11 June, the media reported that out of the 31 women that were detained, 24 were let off with a warning, while the rest were sent off to undergo counselling.
Apparently, this is the first time that the religious authorities are hauling up women for not wearing tudung although the law has been in place for more than a few decades
According to Section 5 of the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code 1985, acting or behaving indecently, which includes not wearing the tudung, can attract a fine of RM1,000 or six months’ imprisonment.
"This law has been in existence for quite some time," JAHEAIK's deputy enforcement chief Mohd Fadzuli Mohd Zain was quoted as saying by The Star Online.
"It is just that we are enforcing it now so that the public is aware that we can take appropriate action against them if they fail to comply."
"We will be conducting a major operation statewide after this to catch those who wear revealing and tight-fitting clothes," he added.
Two years ago, Kelantan sparked a controversy when local authorities initiated Operasi Gempur Aurat (Operation Aurat Attack), a crackdown on Muslim women traders and employees who do not dress "appropriately"
In 2014, Kelantan made headlines for enforcing Islamic dress code on those in business, with the local authorities imposing a maximum fine of RM500 on women traders and workers who do not cover their hair and wear tight outfits.
All businesses that require operating licences from the local authorities were to abide by the dress code as it was one of the conditions to obtain a business permit issued by local councils.
The whole operation was a four-month long campaign which was initiated in September 2014 and ended in December 2014.
Meanwhile, state Mufti Datuk Shukri Mohamad has urged non-Muslim women to stop sporting "provocative" attire during the Ramadan month
"They (non-Muslims) should respect Muslims and dress appropriately," Shukri said.
"It is not wrong for them to dress how they like but they must be considerate because when Muslims, particularly men, bump into them at public places, it is considered haram," he was quoted as saying to local daily New Straits Times.
He also urged non-Muslims to refrain from "eating or drinking in front of Muslims during the fasting month."
The reminder caught the ire of local political leaders, with many condemning the mufti's "insensitive" remarks on how non-Muslims should conduct themselves
Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong lambasted Kelantan mufti Mohamad Shukri Mohamad for advising non-Muslims how to dress during Ramadan.
"I think the Kelantan mufti has no right tell how the people should dress, the Chinese will dress what they think is appropriate," he said.
"I am sure the non-Muslims know how to dress, don't have to make this (remark)," he added.
"We agree that wearing proper attire is part of our culture, whether you are Muslim or not. Why is it only happening in Kelantan and why are only women being punished?" Wanita MCA chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie was quoted as saying by The Star Online.
Meanwhile MIC president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam also rebuked Shukri's statement. "For non-Muslims, we respect the Muslim belief and it is standard practice anywhere in the world. So, things like these (not caring for the sensitivity of other religions) should not be happening in our multi-racial country," he said.
Netizens have also expressed their concern about the operations that are being carried by the Kelantan local authorities and the statement made by the mufti