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Malaysian Muslim
Leaders Outlaw "Tomboyish" Behavior

Malaysian Muslim
Leaders Outlaw "Tomboyish" Behavior

Malaysia's most powerful Muslim leaders passed an edict last week preventing man-like behaviors among the country's women. The National Fatwa Council ruled on Thursday that "tomboyish" manners were against Islamic laws, including dressing like men, wearing masculine haircuts, and engaging in same-sex sexual encounters, the Associated Press reports.

Islam is the official religion of Malaysia, with more than 60% of its citizens Muslims. The Council's edicts are not binding, according to national law, but most Malaysians regard them as such.

An AP correspondent based in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur reported that the edict was aimed at fighting the increase in school bullying among girls, a phenomenon that the country's media has covered extensively in the last few months. The reporter added that another reason was the alleged rise in female homosexuality in the country.

Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia -- those convicted of sodomy are often sentenced to long prison terms or physically punished -- but religious leaders and the government have been mostly concerned with gay men. Now both parties seem to be turning their attention to gay women.

On several instances, Human Rights Watch has condemned the southeast Asian country, calling its laws against gay people "antiquated" and urging the Malaysian authorities to repeal them. (Thibault Chareton, The Advocate)

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Malaysian Muslim
Leaders Outlaw "Tomboyish" Behavior

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