Stop policing the way women dress, SIS tells Kelantan religious body

Sisters in Islam says the obsession to control what women wear must stop.

PETALING JAYA: Muslim women’s rights group Sisters in Islam (SIS) today slammed the Kelantan religious authorities for issuing summonses to 39 women for dressing sexily and behaving indecently in public.

It said the state Islamic Affairs and Religious Department (JAHAEIK) should stop its operations to police and summon women for their dressing

SIS also urged the department to cancel notices issued to the women to attend counselling.

“The obsession to control what women wear what needs to stop,” SIS communications manager Majidah Hashim said in a statement.

“Not only does this practice humiliate and degrade the value of women, the compulsive need to control what women wears implies that she is mentally, physically and spiritually defective and a danger to the moral order of society.”

New Straits Times had earlier quoted JAHEAIK assistant chief director (shariah law division) Mohd Fadzuli Mohd Sain as saying the women were slapped with the notices during a nine-hour operation in Kota Bharu yesterday.

Apart from the 39, eight others were given warnings not to repeat their actions or dress sexily in public, the daily said.

Fadzuli also said that two men were caught at a restaurant for not fasting.

Majidah expressed concern for the “unfair” targeting of Muslim women and questioned why summonses were not issued to men who “failed to guard their modesty by lowering their gaze as commanded by Islam”.

“This discrimination unfairly suggests that women are exclusively to be blamed for social and moral ills within the community,” she said.

She quoted verses on modesty from the Al-Quran which she said implied that “no material used or discarded can take priority over piety, whether or not clothing is used”.

“We urge that JAHAEIK make efforts to understand the realities of the community which they serve as a whole, as well as the systemic causes of social ills, which do not stem from how women choose to dress,” she said.