Transwoman Charged For Breaking Sharia Law by Wearing Women's Clothing

Nur Sajat, a 36-year old cosmetics entrepreneur from Malaysia, is wanted after being charged by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department with violating Sharia law. In 2018, Muhammad Sajjad Kamaruz Zaman, popularly knwon as Nur Sajat, wore a baju kurung, a traditional custom worn by women. She left Malaysia in January 2021. A warrant was issued last February 23 after she failed to show for her hearing.

Currently, Nur Sajat is living in Thailand after escaping from Malaysia. Thailand’s immigration officers detained her on September 8 for illegal entry and for using an invalid passport. She was released after paying more than 66,000 THB (~2,000 USD) in bail.

Malaysia’s Sharia courts are eager to bring her back for prosecution. Police Officer Abdul Jalil Hassan said that “efforts are being made to bring the suspect back.” However, Police Major General Achayon Kraithong of Thailand’s Immigration Bureau did not confirm any extradition request from Malaysia. General Kraithong said that “there are many procedures, whether to send back or not, it needs to be considered.”

Tanee Sangrat, the spokesman for Thailand’s Foreign Ministry, stated that Thailand is “dealing with this case based on our laws and humanitarian tradition.”

G25 Malaysia, a civil society organization, has been criticizing the Malaysian government, calling them paranoid “that Nur Sajat may be an inspiration for other transgender people to assert their human rights to be what they were born into.”

An unidentified source claimed that Nur Sajat submitted a refugee application to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The Deputy Asia Director verified this application for Human

Rights Watch, Phil Robertson. In a Twitter post on September 20, Robertson stated that Nur Sajat should be “sent to a country that will offer rights protections, not persecuted for being LGBT.”

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