Human rights advocacy groups Justice for Sisters, Amnesty International of Malaysia, Women’s March Malaysia and 17 other organizations Tuesday called for an end to raids on LGBTQ+ people carried out by multiple policing organizations in Malaysia.
The demand comes after a police raid of a Halloween party in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. The Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (JAWI) and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) arrested 24 Muslim individuals for offenses against Sharia and the Malaysian Penal Code. The offenses included cross-dressing, encouraging vice and immorality, indecent acts in public and testing positive for the THC compound found in cannabis.
Under the penal code, the offenses fall under section 377A and 377D, which prohibit “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” and “gross indecency,” respectively. Under Sharia, the Syariah Criminal Offenses Act criminalizes same-sex relations between men and between women, prohibits the encouragement of vice and criminalizes men dressing as women for “immoral purposes” and indecent acts in public places that are contrary to Islamic Law.
Activist Numan Afifi, who was present at the party when it was raided, said that 20 people were transported to the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department to be investigated for the charges brought against them.
20 people are being transported to JAWI for investigation in Black Maria truck. pic.twitter.com/yNclGCpH2I
— Numan Afifi (@NumanAfifi) October 29, 2022
Justice for Sisters said in a report that the raids are an example of the additional punitive measures Muslim citizens are subject to under Sharia and the politicization of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments in advance of Malaysia’s general election on November 19.
The organization called for the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) and the incoming Malaysian government to review the joint raids conducted by state Islamic Departments for human rights violations and a comprehensive analysis of the impact the joint raids have on human rights in light of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and international human rights policies.