PETALING JAYA: The Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) raided a fund-raising event for the transgender community and arrested its hostess.
Lawyer Siti Kassim, who was at the dinner at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, said the hostess, who is known as Ira, is still being detained by Jawi as of Monday afternoon.
She said they were watching a “beauty show” at the dinner when a group of at least 10 Jawi enforcement officers appeared at about 10pm Sunday.
She claimed that they blocked all the exits and held them prisoner in the ballroom, leading Siti to question them and call the police.
Siti said the police arrived but left soon after.
She said most of the guests were allowed to leave but she and Ira were told by a Jawi officer that they were under arrest.
The two were forced into a Jawi van before being brought to the Dang Wangi police station.
Siti said Jawi lodged a police report although she did not know its content. In return, she also lodged a report against Jawi.
Later, when Siti’s lawyer asked Jawi if she was under arrest, they said no.
Ira was however brought to the Jawi headquarters.
“My question is why was I put in the van then? Why did he (the Jawi officer) say at the hotel that he was arresting me?” she said in a Facebook post on Monday.
Siti also questioned the purpose for the raid and what wrong the transgenders had committed.
“They were in a closed-door function with dinner and a show. Just having a good time and enjoying themselves. No harm was done to anyone,” she said.
“This is simply persecution by the religious authorities against the Maknyah (transgender) community,” she said, and criticised Jawi for its “high and mighty behaviour”.
She said she would discuss with her colleagues their next step of action and has not discounted action against Jawi.
Siti was a recipient of The Star’s Golden Hearts award last year.