KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — In a Facebook post today, Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin urged Muslims to treat trans women as males, insisting that there are “only two genders”.

The Perlis mufti said that if transgenderism were recognised, it would allegedly give men an excuse to hurt women.

“If there is a ‘mak nyah’ hitting a woman, we must assume it as a man hitting a woman.

“There are only two recognised genders. There is not a third. Religion prohibits this invented gender named ‘mak nyah’ or ‘saudarai’, or whatever the name,” he wrote on his Facebook page, using the Malay term for trans women.

“Trans women” or “transgender” are terms used to refer to those who were born male but associate themselves with the female identity, and differ from sex assigned at birth and sexual orientation.

Despite his assertion, violence by men against both women and trans women are more common than by a trans woman against a fellow woman.

On New Year’s Day this year, a 39-year-old trans woman was found dead in Klang, allegedly a murder victim.

Last Christmas, four youths aged 21 and below were charged with the murder of a 32-year-old trans woman in Bandar Bukit Tinggi, Klang.

Data from the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry showed a total of 50,658 cases of rape, incest, molestation, unnatural sex acts, sexual harassment and domestic violence against women that were recorded from 2013 to May 2018.

The mufti also claimed that recognising transgenders will desensitise the public when a trans woman attacks a woman.

“Wearing women’s clothes and acting like women do not change the fact that they are men,” he claimed.

Last year, Mohd Asri had told transgenders to use their biological sex to determine which gender’s toilet to use, dismissing the furore over the matter and appeared to mock those insisting on using the restrooms of genders other than that of their birth.