Marina tells organisers of Penang exhibit to remove her portrait

Marina Mahathir’s portrait (middle) is featured with other pictures of prominent Malaysians at the ‘Stripes and Strokes’ exhibition in Penang.

PETALING JAYA: After portraits of LGBT activists were removed from an exhibition to showcase Malaysian patriotism, activist Marina Mahathir said she was standing in solidarity with them, and instructed organisers to also remove her portrait.

“I am asking for my photos to be taken down in solidarity with Pang and Nisha,” she told FMT today, referring to Nisha Ayub and Pang Khee Teik, whose pictures were removed at a photography exhibition titled “Stripes and Strokes”, which forms part of the George Town Festival.

“I am personally very sad about this. When people say they are not treating LGBT Malaysians as second-class citizens, this is exact proof that discrimination exists,” Marina added.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa defended the removal of the portraits, saying it was justified in line with Putrajaya’s policy not to promote the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lifestyle.

Faisal Tehrani.

Meanwhile, author Faisal Tehrani criticised Mujahid, saying the minister in charge of Islamic affairs should focus on more important matters.

“For instance, corruption within Islamic institutions or human rights violations against minorities within Islam. These are urgent issues,” he told FMT.

Faisal questioned the removal of the pictures, saying symbolic expressionisms of LGBT was not under a ban, such as that impose on the Islamic State symbol.

“To many LGBTs, rainbow is part of their identity, and there is nothing wrong to express the very basic of their identity,” he said.

He said notwithstanding Islam’s strong position against homosexuality, Muslim reformists have different approaches on the LGBT community, one of which is to ensure they are treated equally.

“I have clearly engaged the LGBT topic and presented it in my novel, Profesor, and I will love to present him a copy of the book if I meet him,” said Faisal, whose Malay novels have courted controversy, seven of which have been banned.