Malaysia bans tomboys

Malaysia bans tomboys saying girls with short hair who act like boys 'violate Islam'


Malaysian actress Sharifah Amani is seen with her head shaved during an interview to promote her film Muallaf

Clerics have issued an edict banning tomboys in Muslim-majority Malaysia, saying that girls who act like boys violate the tenets of Islam.

Under the 'fatwa', girls are forbidden to have short hair and dress like boys.

Harussani Idris Zakaria, who attended the meeting of the National Fatwa Council, said an increasing number of Malaysian girls behave like tomboys, and some of them engage in homosexuality.

He said the council's ruling was not legally binding because it has not been passed into law, but that tomboys should be banned because they are 'sinful'.

He said: 'It doesn't matter if it's a law or not. When it's wrong, it's wrong.

'God created them as girls, they must act like girls.'

It was not immediately clear what punishment awaited those who violate the fatwa.

Council chairman Abdul Shukor Husin said the ruling was prompted by recent cases of young women behaving like men and indulging in homosexuality.

Malaysian media have reported on recent incidents of school bullying among girls, which have been caught on film and circulated on the internet.

In one film, some girls are seen beating up another girl in a bathroom.

A well-known Malaysian Muslim actress caused an uproar last year when she shaved her head bald for a film.

Harussani and other muftis urged Muslims not to watch the movie, arguing that the actress had violated Islam by making herself look like a man.

'Muallaf,' or 'the convert,' is scheduled for release in Singapore next month, but no date has been set for its release in Malaysia.

Muslims make up some 60 percent of Malaysia's 27 million people, and are subject to Islamic laws and the council's edicts, even if the rulings have not been enshrined in national or Shariah law.

Male homosexual sex is illegal in Malaysia and punishable with up to 20 years in jail.