Sisters in Islam (SIS) strongly disagrees with the police’s blanket ban on Seksualiti Merdeka. We see this as yet another pattern of censorship and banning of freedom of expression, association and the free circulation of ideas in Malaysia. We are also concerned at how the ban is going to be enforced by the police force. Was there, for example, a court order to ban the festival? How exactly do the police intend to follow through this “ban”?
While we understand that there are Muslims opposed to ideas of respecting gender and sexual diversity, as a Muslim women’s organisation, SIS disagrees with the methods used to stifle these ideas.
We ourselves have been subjected to police reports simply for questioning syariah criminal procedures on women, and our publication discussing the impact of religious extremism on Muslim women was once banned by the authorities. We regret that Seksualiti Merdeka has fallen prey to the same kind of state intimidation and harassment.
We call on fellow Muslims to exercise compassion and wisdom in dealing with the issues brought up by Seksualiti Merdeka. We also call on the authorities to ensure the safety and security of all those involved in this, especially Seksualiti Merdeka’s organisers, volunteers and supporters.
Sisters in Islam
3 November 2011