Sajat Controversy – Rights Group Tells Mujahid to Stop Policing Gender Identity

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Mujahid wants government to ban Sajat from social media.

Justice for Sisters (JFS) has called on minister Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) today to address root issues concerning Sajat’s “umrah” or minor pilgrimage.

The transgender rights group said those issues faced by the cosmetics entrepreneur are breach of privacy via doxxing, transphobia and misogyny online, and gender-based violence, following backlash of her performing the Islamic ritual in Mecca.

“The real concern is not the telekung (prayer garment), but her safety and security, the breach of privacy and the lack of rights and evidence-based response by the government on this matter.

“Mujahid’s misplaced concerns and knee jerk reaction on this matter could further escalate concerns over the safety, security and persecution for her, her family members and friends in Malaysia and abroad,” Justice for Sisters said.

“Several documents including a copy of passport and travel documents, which allegedly state Sajat’s deadname (assigned name at birth that the person no longer identifies with) were shared doxxed or publicly on social media and the media without consent.

“The documents spread like wildfire, sparking harmful online comments and a shift in the way in which the media describes Sajat,” it added.

Doxing or doxxing, a term originating from the word “documents”, includes harvesting private information from publicly available data online or social media, and broadcasting such information, usually to identify someone

JFS said disclosure of such personal data without consent is a breach of Section 8 of the Personal Data Protection Act 2010.

This comes as Mujahid, who is the minister in charge of religious affairs, said he met MCMC yesterday so prompt action could be taken following the uploading of numerous photos and video by Sajat who wore the clothes of women umrah pilgrims which went viral on the social media.

FMT

JFS also chided media outlets that had participated in amplifying the doxxing and breach of privacy by republishing the legal and travel documents on their platforms, in addition to calling Sajat by her alleged deadname.

“Using her alleged deadname is extremely regressive, unethical and degrading,” JFS said.

“Regardless of what is stated in the legal documents, we must respect and affirm a person’s gender identity. Using the name and pronouns that a person identifies with is a very basic form of respect.”

Sajat was criticised on social media after photos and videos of her performing the pilgrimage went viral.

Muslims who complained mostly took issue with her wearing women’s clothes during the pilgrimage and performing the rituals as a woman among female pilgrims, as they accused her of not being a woman.

Sajat continues to be hounded by authorities and some in the public over her gender identity.

Mujahid said Sajat should have performed the umrah dressed as a man.

However, Justice for Sisters said it is not the state’s role “to police people’s sex and gender identity”.

“The state’s role and obligation is to protect, fulfill and respect the human rights of all persons. Sex and gender identity are two separate things.

“We call for the government to refrain from being reactionary, as it has harmful unintended consequences.”

In 2017, Sajat posted on her Instagram a letter from KPJ Ampang Puteri Hospital confirming her gender as female following a medical check-up.

Instagram

The head of a cosmetics and beauty company, she is said to have been born with both male and female sex organs before transitioning fully into a woman.

Meanwhile, Mujahid has requested the MCMC to stop Sajat from posting on social media.

He said MCMC has the power to stop any social media contents that could create “unease especially to Muslims”.


Earlier report: Feb 3, Nur Sajat’s Telekung Controversy in Mecca