KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 — Religious scholars from Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia’s (Isma) claimed today the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) was indirectly condoning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) practices by refraining from punishing the sexual minority groups.
Despite a recent explanation by NUCC member Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, the Islamist group's religious scholars’ council (Muis) insisted that the lack of action against LBGT is akin to recognising deviant sex.
“Accepting that those who practise LGBT must be allowed without any action, is akin to recognising their deviant sexual desires,” Muis chairman Dr Aznan Hasan said in a report on the Isma website.
The associate professor urged action against the LGBT community because its practices allegedly invoke the wrath of Allah, and must incur heavy penalties in the present in addition to strict punishment in the afterlife.
“When someone is convicted of practising LGBT, he should go through the proper judicial process, not because of discrimination but because of his conduct,” Aznan said.
“He should not be free after committing such a crime,” he added.
Homosexuality in itself is not a crime in Malaysia but is considered taboo in the religiously-conservative country, including among followers of Islam.
Oral and anal sex are both prohibited under the country’s Penal Code, while each state’s Shariah criminal enactments also prohibit Muslims from cross-dressing, laws of which have been used to persecute the local transgender community.
In an interview with news portal Malaysiakini today, Mujahid clarified that a clause in the proposed National Harmony and Reconciliation Bill to protect sexual minorities from discrimination does not mean the “recognition” of the LGBT community.
The Parit Buntar MP from Islamist party PAS reportedly said the community has a right to protection, despite his personal disagreement with the community’s lifestyle.
Muslim groups have previously attacked the bill for defining “religion” as “any religion and includes any belief or lack of a religious belief”, which they say would include atheists and the freedom to renounce a faith.
NUCC has since hit back at its critics, saying that the interpretation was not meant to encourage anyone to leave his or her religion, or go against the principal of believing in God.