Neelofa, Zouk guests can be charged with insulting Islam, Sharie lawyer claims

Neelofa was hit with criticism following images posted online of her new range of tudung and turban for men at the popular nightclub in conjunction with her 29th birthday. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Neelofa was hit with criticism following images posted online of her new range of tudung and turban for men at the popular nightclub in conjunction with her 29th birthday. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — A Sharie lawyer asserted today that legal action under Shariah laws can be taken against celebrity entrepreneur Noor Neelofa Mohd Noor and her brand for holding the Be Lofa range launch at the Zouk club here last Monday.

According to Malaysian Syarie Lawyers Association president Musa Awang, Neelofa, the organiser and even the guests who attended the tudung and turban launch could be charged with insulting Islam for bringing disrepute to a symbol of the religion.

“They can be indicted under Section 7(a) of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act  1997, since the event involved the launch of an Islamic symbol with women dancing while wearing tudung.

“What is meant to be goodness and religious responsibility has instead been brought into a place with elements of vice,” Musa was quoted by Malay daily Berita Harian as saying.

But the lawyer was also reported saying the prosecution has a heavy burden to prove exactly how Neelofa and the others had insulted Islam, given the vague and subjective wording in the Shariah law.

“In my personal opinion any prosecution towards Neelofa would further complicate matters since she and the organiser have already apologised.

“The criticism from society over the matter should be a lesson to her and others who are thinking of doing the same thing. Fortunately our society is still observant and can differentiate between right and wrong,” Musa was quoted saying further.

A law lecturer with the International Islamic University of Malaysia also said there was no need to charge Neelofa under Shariah laws as the entrepreneur likely “did not intend to insult Islam” and “should not be punished as a criminal”, another Malay daily Harian Metro reported.

“If today we accuse Neelofa in court, it will reflect badly on Shariah criminal laws and it is impossible society won’t condemn it,” Shamrahayu A. Aziz was quoted saying.

According to the constitutional law expert, such incidents could be avoided by teaching Malaysians how to distinguish between the tudung as a cover for the aurat and for fashion.

Neelofa, an actress who has made a killing selling headscarves for Muslims and has since ventured into jewellery, was hit with criticism following images posted online of her new range of tudung and turban for men at the popular nightclub in conjunction with her 29th birthday.

One of her guests, a TV programme host and blogger popularly known as Nisa Kay, similarly faced backlash from conservatives over a video of her dancing in a tudung during a lip sync competition at the launch.

Noor Nabila Mohd Noor, the managing director of NH Prime International Sdn Bhd that owns the Naelofar brand behind the Be Lofa line, has since issued a statement of apology and explained there was no alcohol served during the launch as Zouk also serves as a public event space.

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