Stop misinformation, unnecessary probe on dehijabing forum

Islamic Affairs Minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa - Photograph: Facebook

Maryam Lee, Mohani Niza and Dian Sofia describe how they came under investigation after a “Malay Women and Dehijabing” forum on Saturday.

We are very thankful and appreciative of your support and solidarity.

As of now, more than 24 hours after the first press statement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for Religious Affairs, Mujahid Yusof Rawa, on initiating investigations on the book launch and forum “Malay Women and Dehijabbing”, we have not been made aware of the steps of action that may be taken.

The event was held on Saturday, 13 April 2019 at 2pm. The venue sponsor was Gerakbudaya bookstore, which also owns the publishing house that published Unveiling Choice.

We had a three-hour discussion based on the book with the panel members sharing their lived experiences as ex-hijabis in Malaysia. It was an intellectual discourse based on the women’s lived realities, looking at the phenomenon from sociological and historical perspectives, alongside discussions on the socio-political realities of Malaysian girls and women today.

The event was over by 5pm and participants left the event on a good note.

It was the day after the event, Sunday, 14 April, that the forum became highly criticised on social media for two days. Negative comments of the event largely came from those who did not attend the discussion; as a result, they spread misinformation of what was discussed and distorted perceptions of the book, the author, and the panel members.

We were informed of the investigations by the religious affairs authorities through the minister’s media statement on Facebook.

READ MORE:  Freedom of expression still being violated under PH government

On the morning of Tuesday, 16 April, the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) officers paid a visit to Gerakbudaya to get copies of the book and talked to a Gerakbudaya representative at 3:30pm, responding to reports made to them regarding the event.

We are ready to give full cooperation to the authorities; however, we are unequivocal that there has been no transgression of Malaysian laws.

We condemn this unnecessary investigation as abuse of power to harass and intimidate women activists who are speaking up on issues affecting women and organisers for intellectual discussions that do not serve the status quo.

We implore the public and the authorities to explore the subject at hand with rational thinking and dialogue, as we believe in healthy discourse and the defence of democratic spaces for all minorities in Malaysia.

Let us all do our part to stop a culture of misinformation and fear of intellectual discourse.

(Visited 741 times, 1 visits today)
Thanks for dropping by! The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.

Join the conversation

10 Comment threads
4 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
13 Comment authors
Tony Joe JoezulKamal BadriPatricio Ephraim CarnivaraChin Tu Lan Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Tony Joe Joe

Any person wants political support is not religious at all . Manipulation and personal agenda not a religious vocation


Thanks to constant interference of muslim’s internal affairs for many years by non-muslims like all of you, the malay-muslims nowadays have become more rigid, conservative and strict in practising their faith. And they also have become less sympathetic and emphatic towards the non-muslims.

Keep meddling in islamic issues and do expect a strong call from majority of muslims for a fully syariah-compliant islamic country, with non muslims being treated like their counterpart in saudi arabia..

Chin Tu Lan

Zakar Naik is his guru.

Antares Maitreya

Terminal case of malware-induced toxipsychosis.

Kamal Badri

Wow, only kafirun gave comments…. take care of your religion, don’t be busy body….

Chin Tu Lan

Take care of your own conduct, don’t busybody other people’s clothing.

Patricio Ephraim Carnivara

Because on your side, only few like Lateefa Koya got the guts to speak out.

Kamal Badri

Patricio Ephraim Carnivara what guts are you talking about. Wearing tudung is compulsory by God. Lateefa Koya was showing her ignorant on the matter. And you kafirun what do you know about this religion and yet trying to be busy body…

Anita Joshi

After the fantastic hug he got or gave to the Zakir Don…he is revitalised like him..

PengLim Fong

Those who wanna wear just wear ot..those who dont want to so be it..
Whats the problem???? Wasting time probing..go do more social work lah.

Jim Cheah

Remember idiot we looking forward fo new malaysia all equal we share everything for future of my beloved country Malaysia!!!

Ravinder Singh

Priorities are all wrong. Hijab is a non-issue as the Prophet did not order its wearing. It is personal choice. However, it has become big fashion business. So is the real concern that these businesses will lose their pot of gold? What should be of concern, and are dying for attention and action are issues of baby dumping, of incest, of widespread drug taking, of mat rempits (according to the police they are all Malays/Muslims), corruption, fraud where Malays are cheating the Malays, etc.
If hijab is of such concern, is it because Malaysia is to be Talibanised? Is this what Zakir Naik is promoting?

Roger Yeo

Questionable guy, what do you expect from this dude who thinks a fugitive give him inspiration.

Benny Wong

Roger Yeo l like this fella better when he was in the opposition. Now he is playing religious politics.