PETALING JAYA - Action can be taken against anyone belittling an edict (fatwa) prohibiting Muslims from participating in beauty pageants, says Federal Territory syarie chief prosecutor Ibrahim Deris.
He added that even non-Muslims would not be spared because such behaviour would be deemed as insulting Islam.
"For Muslim offenders, we will take action under the syariah criminal offences. For non-Muslims belittling the edict in public domains, we will lodge a police report for action to be taken under the existing civil laws such as the Sedition Act," he said yesterday.
He was responding to reports over the religious authorities' move to bar four Muslim women finalists from participating in the Miss Malaysia-World pageant scheduled on Aug 2.
The Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) had also initiated investigations into allegations that the Muslim participants had insulted the religion by questioning the fatwa prohibiting Muslims from taking part in beauty pageants.
Jawi director Datuk Che Mat Che Ali had said that investigations were being carried out under Section 7 of the Syariah Criminal Offences Act (Federal Territories) 1997 (Act 559) for insulting or degrading Islam.
If found guilty, they are liable to a fine not exceeding RM3,000 (S$1,200) or jail sentence not exceeding two years, or both.
Ibrahim said action would be taken if they had really uttered the words deemed as insulting the religion as reported in a Malay daily.
The four, Sara Amelia Muhammad Bernard, Wafa Johanna De Korte, Miera Sheikh and Kathrina Ridzuan had allegedly expressed their disappointment at having to leave the contest.
Ibrahim said action would also be taken against them under Section 9 of the Act if they breached the fatwa by participating in the pageant next week.
Section 9 of the Act also carries a fine not exceeding RM3,000 and jail sentence not exceeding two years.
The edict issued by the National Fatwa Council was gazetted in 1996 under the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993.