'Dehijabing' by female celebs can have negative influence, says Perkasa women's wing chief

Actress Emma Maembong caused a stir when she decided to stop wearing a tudung earlier this year. — Picture via Instagram/emma_maembongofficial
Actress Emma Maembong caused a stir when she decided to stop wearing a tudung earlier this year. — Picture via Instagram/emma_maembongofficial

PETALING JAYA, May 8 — Malay rights group Perkasa’s women’s wing has expressed concerns over celebrities who choose to “dehijab” or remove their headscarf, saying it would bring a negative influence to younger Muslim women.

The group’s Wirawati head Marini Nasution was asked to comment on online shaming that criticises Malaysian actresses and models for their clothing, particularly those who reveal that they would no longer be wearing a hijab.

“Female celebrities in Malaysia are often criticised on social media like Instagram because the majority of them are Malay Muslims.

“As Malay women who adhere to Islam, they should be expected to wear respectable clothes and cover their aurat,” Marini told Malay Mail in a WhatsApp interview.

She said these celebrities should act and dress accordingly to their status as public figures and that any deviant behaviour would indirectly influence young women to “copy” them.

“It’s worrying when Muslim celebrities like Emma Maembong and others (remove their hijab) because they are icons and idols for their fans.

“Their actions will indirectly promote ‘dehijabing’ and influence Muslim women to copy their actions, especially younger women who may be wavering in their faith,” she said.

Actress Fathia Latiff is the latest celebrity to endure intense backlash for choosing to no longer wear a tudung. — Picture via Instagram/fatiyalatiff
Actress Fathia Latiff is the latest celebrity to endure intense backlash for choosing to no longer wear a tudung. — Picture via Instagram/fatiyalatiff

Actress Emma Maembong retaliated against keyboard warriors after she stopped wearing a headscarf earlier this year, telling Harian Metro that “religion doesn’t teach us to criticise one another harshly”.

Another actress Fathia Latiff also experienced similar backlash from social media users when she stopped wearing a tudung last month.

In an interview with Harian Metro, she defended her actions in the face of negative comments pouring in about her online.

Marini added that it was equally inappropriate for non-Muslim female celebrities to wear revealing and sexy clothes in a country where the majority of citizens are Muslims.

While Marini is an advocate for advising fellow Muslims on their behaviour, she said that lines must always be drawn between criticisms with goodwill and cyberbullying.

“Criticism with good intentions always take the form of constructive advice that can be conveyed to someone tactfully without shaming the person.

“Whereas criticisms that lean towards ‘cyberbullying’ are filled with condemnation, scorn, curses, and there are some that go overboard by punishing and insult a person.”

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