Police arrest maker of dogs-in-Aidilfitri video after cyberstorm

Screencap of the 'offensive' video.
Screencap of the 'offensive' video.

PETALING JAYA, July 31 — The police arrested today Maznah Mohd Yusof, a Muslim woman behind a controversial Aidilfitri video featuring her dogs after a clip resurfaced on the Internet recently touting it as an insult to Islam, her lawyer Latheefa Koya said.

When contacted by The Malay Mail Online, Latheefa confirmed the arrest of the 38-year-old Muslim woman, who is also known as Chetz, was related to the controversial video.

"It's regarding the video," said the lawyer, who is also head of PKR's legal bureau.

"She's at the Commercial Crimes division of Bukit Aman," Latheefa added, referring to the police's national headquarters.

The PKR leader said the police had arrested Maznah for allegedly breaching Section 298A of the Penal Code.

"The IO had just confirmed she's arrested for offence under S298A Penal Code," Latheefa later wrote in a text message, referring to the investigating officer.

When contacted, police clarified that they are probing Maznah under the Sedition Act and Section 298 of the Penal Code.

Section 298 falls under the heading of "uttering words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person".

If convicted under Section 298, Maznah could face a jail term of up to one year or a fine, or both.

Yesterday, Maznah denied that she had intended to insult Islam by making the video which featured her and her three pet dogs.

“I have no intention to demean Islam; I had begun making the video just for fun but later decided to ‘educate’ outsiders on dogs and cleanliness,” the 38-year-old was quoted as saying by news site Mynewshub.com.

Her denial came after a video which she reportedly said was created in 2010 reappeared on YouTube, a video-sharing website.

Yesterday, a YouTube user identified as acaiseven fiska had posted the 105-second video on the website, and titled it “video menghina Islam. 1 hari di hari raya (video insulting Islam. 1 day in Hari Raya)”.

In it, Maznah is seen walking and cleaning her three dogs as the “Takbir Raya”, or Muslim call to prayer traditionally reserved for the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri played in the background.

The juxtaposition appeared to be a reference to the wudhu, or ablution performed by Muslims before prayer; dogs are also considered unclean by adherents of the faith.

According to the report, Maznah said she made the video in 2010 to show that dogs are not “haram” (forbidden) as widely-believed, and that these could be kept as pets as Muslims.

“Dogs are not ‘haram’, if they are wet, just ‘samak’," she was quoted as saying.

“Samak” is the ritual cleansing performed by Muslims when they come into contact with items considered ritually unclean, of which wet dogs are considered to be by some adherents.

Earlier this month, sex bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee attracted angry comments from Muslims over a mock “Selamat Berbuka Puasa” (breaking of fast) greeting on their Facebook page that showed them eating “bak kut teh”, and describing the soupy pork dish as “wangi, enak, menyelerakan” (fragrant, delicious, appetising).

The picture also included a “Halal” logo, although the consumption of pork is forbidden to Muslims.

The couple, known as "Alvivi", were later charged under the Penal Code, Film and Censorship Act and Sedition Act.

The duo had first courted controversy over the videos and photographs of their sexual exploits that had been posted on a now-defunct blog.

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