Malaysia Muslim body issues fatwa against tomboys

Fri Oct 24, 2008 4:48am EDT
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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters Life!) - Malaysia's top Islamic council has decreed that tomboyish behavior and lesbian sex are forbidden in Islam, a newspaper said on Friday.

The National Fatwa Council issued the edict following what it said a spate of cases involving young women behaving like men and indulging in lesbian sex, the Malay language Berita Harian daily said.

"There are teenage girls who prefer the male lifestyle including dressing up in men's clothes," it quoted council chairman Abdul Shukor Husin as saying. "More worryingly, they have started to engage in sexual activities."

He gave no other details.

Mainly Muslim Malaysia frowns on oral and gay sex, describing them as against the order of nature. Under the civil law, offenders -- both males or females -- can be jailed for up to 20 years, caned or fined.

Just over half of Malaysia's 27 million people are Malay Muslims, practicing the moderate brand of Islam.

(Reporting by Jalil Hamid' Editing by David Fox)