Malaysian minister in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom says the federal government will conduct an in-depth study on Islamic compliance for clothing used for sports and other fields, citing criticism over the attire worn by 21 year-old Malaysian gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi at the SEA Games in Singapore.
Farah had won the gold for Malaysia in the floor exercise routine in artistic gymnastics. However, her win was marred by a flood of complaints from Muslims in Malaysia about her gymnast attire, which they say showed off her aurat and revealed the shape of her vagina.
The minister says that it is the responsibility of all Muslims regardless of gender to cover their aurat – referring to parts of the body that should not be exposed.
“We take note of this so it becomes a guide, in whatever field including sports for us to take a more in-depth look at clothing on issues that can taint Islam, including Muslim women,” he said in response to a question at the 11th Malaysia Plan debate.
PAS MP Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff had earlier asked if the federal government would enforce Shariah compliance in all issues involving Muslims, and cited Farah Ann’s controversy as an example. She declared that clothing used by female Muslim athletes that expose their aurat went against sharak, or Islamic principles, and is “very shameful” for the community.
However, Farah Ann has since received an outpouring of support from Malaysians who pointed out that the athlete should be celebrated for her performance at the games, which not only saw her take home gold, but three bronze medals and a silver in other individual events.