Vivian Lee and Alvin Tan, sex bloggers in their younger twenties and known collectively as Alvivi, have offended many Muslims throughout Malaysia and worldwide by posting a photo (seen below) of themselves enjoying a pork stew while greeting Muslims entering into their first week of Ramadan, which is an annual religious observance regarded to be one of the Five Pillars of Islam and includes a month of fasting. The couple have been arrested in Malaysia, are being held without bond, and face up to eight years in prison.
Translation: "Happy Breaking Fast with Bak Kut Teh, aromatic, tasty and appetizing"
The couple was charged at a Kuala Lumpur court under the Film Censorship Act of 2002 for publishing indecent photographs, the Sedition act of 1948 for posting seditious material through the offensive greeting, and Penal Code 298A for promoting enmity between different groups of religion or race for posting a photo to their Facebook page which was found to be extremely offensive to the Muslim community.
According to Malaysian law, sedition includes spreading ill-will among people of different races. Malaysia has a population of 29 million people, and over two-thirds of the people that live there are Muslim.
The photo creating all of the public stir featured the duo eating a pork stew while conveying greetings to Muslims entering this current month of fasting known as Ramadan. Pork is considered forbidden to Muslims. The couple also placed a halal, or "permissible" logo on the post. The couple has plead not-guilty and claimed that the photo was intended to be funny.
The duo has also been running an Internet channel named "Sexcussions with Alvivi," as well as an erotic blog titled, "Sumptuous Erotica" that began in September, 2012. The couple was also charged for displaying sexually explicit photographs on their Tumblr account, and some of their accounts have recently been shut down.
Tan claimed that his computers have been seized by the Malaysian Communication and Multi-media Commission, and stated that he is currently unemployed and is a person of no position or wealth; however, the judge denied bail and stated that the two were capable of uploading additional material to the Internet that could incite public outrage. Vivian Lee, a kindergarten teacher, stated the same.
Tan's Attorney, Counsel Ching Joo Tian, has stated that he intends to appeal the court's decision to deny his clients bail. Tan, who was once a law-student in Singapore, has recently been stripped of his scholarship in wake of his Internet sexual endeavors.
The couple apologized on their Facebook page shortly after the incident and stated that they were asking forgiveness for offending Muslims in their holy month of Ramadan; however, the authorities are taking the case very seriously. Although the couple apologized, they also sent defiant tweets on Saturday stating "You may shut us down now but we will be back and be stronger and better than ever. Enjoy your Ramadan for now,"
The uproar over the couple's crime has been elevated by a crime that is thought to be connected to the issue whereby a Chinese man was beaten. The words, "I insulted the religion of Islam" were written on his chest. Alvin Tan will be held at the Sungai Buloh prison and Vivian Lee will be held at the Kajang prison; their fates will be determined in court on August 23.