PETALING JAYA: Amanah Wanita chief Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud has accused Malaysian Muslim Solidarity (Isma) president Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman of being a “male chauvinist”.
This follows his comments on pictures showing several individuals engaged in suggestive behaviour with Shell’s promotional standee showing a woman in a headscarf.
Yesterday, Zaik had put part of the blame on the model, 25-year-old Shell employee Nor Shafila Khairusalleh, saying that a Muslim woman should not accept the offer to become a model to help a company in its sales efforts, even if she was allowed to wear a scarf and cover up.
Expressing her outrage over the statement, Siti asked what Zaik’s stance would be if the standee was a male model.
“What if the standee was a male model and some women take photos with the standee holding the model’s ‘hands’ and touching his ‘private parts’?
“Would that be the model’s fault then too?” she asked. “I’m sure Zaik would still put all of the blame on the woman.”
She said what Zaik seemed to have “trouble” understanding was that being a model was a job.
“When our society accepts that men and women are equal, then we cannot stop women from holding a job that our society considers halal (permissible).
“Alhamdulillah (thank God), we have managed to educate the public in stages. In the past, all models had to be half-naked while today we have standees of decently dressed women.”
In the previous report, Zaik had said it was “natural” for men to be aroused when looking at women, although not excusing the actions of the men.
Siti, however, said this was not the women’s problem.
“Men need to learn how to lower their gaze and respect women. If they can’t control themselves then don’t look.
“In fact, Allah has ordered men (and women) to lower their gaze in Surah An-Nur.”
She also urged Shell to put the standees back as removing it would only serve to leave the “real issue” unsolved.
“If men want to shame themselves, then they can go right ahead.
“Let the standee act as a form of sensitisation against this kind of men so they learn how to respect a woman’s image, even if it’s only a picture or a standee.
“If we give in everytime some men act like this, then it’s going to take a long time before men — who aren’t right in the head — learn.
“I propose that everytime this kind of thing happens, we viral the pictures in order to embarrass the men.
“This will ensure that in future this kind of idiotic thing never happens again.
“If a standee can turn them on, then they must be taught a lesson. Only a sick person will harass a standee.”
Siti also expressed her support for Shafila, saying Shafila should not feel embarrassed in any way over the incident as she had done nothing wrong.
“It’s those men who should feel embarrassed, not her.”