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A Malaysian man who was initially thought to be missing was found after
marrying his partner in Ireland, leaving his family with hopes that he
will return home, despite strong antigay sentiment and policy.
Gay medical student Ariff Alfian Rosli, 28, had been reported as missing three years ago after ending regular contact with his family, according to Asia One news. He had a scholarship to study medicine at University College Dublin. His father, Rosli Haron, filed a missing persons report with police and the the Irish and Malaysian embassies in both countries before he and his wife made eight trips to Ireland in hopes of finding their son.
Last week Rosli Haron encountered photos of Ariff in a civil partnership ceremony with his spouse, Jonathan. Ariff's mother, Kamariah Hashim, has written a letter to her son, asking for him to return. A Malaysian politician who had been helping the family is set to hand deliver the letter on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Kepong Islamic Youth Organisation, a Muslim group, is asking police to investigate Ariff's case. The group wrote in a formal complaint that the student "disgraced the name of our country, religion, and race," according to Free Malaysia Today.
They added, "We want to pressure the Higher Education Ministry and government-linked companies which sponsors students for education abroad to ensure that the students' Malayness and Islamic identity are strong."
A spokesman from the group said members are opposed to any efforts to integrate or accept LGBT culture, and that "Malasian Muslims must adhere to the Islamic laws and our country's laws, even when they are abroad."
According to the International LGBTI Association, in Malaysia sex between two people of the same gender is illegal and punishable by imprisonment, fines, or whipping.