Transgender entrepreneur and social media personality Nur Sajat has fled Malaysia after being charged with “insulting Islam” for wearing a hijab to a prayer session at a new building inauguration.
On October 18, Sajat posted an image of Australia to Instagram with the caption, “new life.”
“I’m not running away. I’m migrating,” Sajat said, according to the Star.
Sajat, a Muslim, attended a prayer session at a building inauguration near the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, in February of 2018 and wore a hijab to the event. Three years later, Sajat was charged with wearing female clothing and “insulting Islam,” according to the New York Times.
The Times reports that Malaysia has a hybrid legal system as the majority of the country is Muslim. Muslims in Malaysia must follow sharia law. Those who are not Muslims are to abide by civil law. The country has been passing stricter legislation on transgenderism and homosexuality.
“The government is serious about the issue of L.G.B.T. people in the country, as Malaysia is a country that adheres to the religion of Islam,” said Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, according to Benar News. “Any individual who violates the law must face action … they need to be guided and be made aware so that they can return to the right path.”
In January, Selangor officials from the religious department gave a summons, and Sajat appeared before officials with several friends and family members after receiving public complaints, according to the Times.
While inside meeting with officials, Sajat claims to have been kicked by three different men as well as groped, according to the Times. After being arrested that day, Sajat was charged in Sharia court and placed in a male detention facility overnight, the Times reports.
After fleeing to Thailand, a tip about Sajat’s whereabouts was reported to Thai officials, according to New Straits Times. The source suggested Sajat had been staying in a condominium with a local man since March. Sajat was arrested by Thai immigration on September 8, according to the outlet.
A source told the outlet that bail was posted on September 9, and Sajat was ordered to meet with Thai authorities every two weeks while officials worked on the extradition process with the Malaysian government.
“Insya-Allah, if he is willing to come to us, if he has admitted wrong and so on if he wants to return to his true nature, there is no problem,” said Minister for Religious Affairs Idris Ahmad said in September, according to New Straits Times. “We do not want to punish him, we just want to educate.”
Sajat is now in Sydney, Australia, and is undergoing coronavirus quarantine, according to the Star.
“If I’m still Muslim, just let me be with my own ways, and you follow your own ways,” Sajat said, according to the Star.