PETALING JAYA: The meeting with transgender advocate Nisha Ayub did not touch on equal rights of same-sex marriages but on the discrimination faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, says Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa.
"In the meeting yesterday, issues related to same-sex marriage were not brought up at all. The meeting was more about addressing the discrimination face by the mak nyah community and problems faced by them including matters pertaining to religion, specifically worship," said the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of religious affairs.
The meeting was arranged following a heated public debate on the removal of Nisha and LGBT activist Pang Khee Teik’s portraits from a photo exhibition at the George Town Fesitval.
It was reported that the meeting lasted 40-minutes, in which Dr Mujahid's Deputy, Fuziah Salleh was also present.
In his statement on Saturday (Aug 11), Dr Mujahid clarified that his meeting with Nisha did not mean that he agreed with what LGBT activists were fighting for.
"Nisha herself contacted me to have a meeting and I accepted it sincerely since it was related to transgender issues that have to be understood especially since it was related to the role of the religious institutions to handle this phenomena," he said.
He claimed that Nisha had also clarified that she was not an LGBT icon but was just an activist fighting for the rights of a community that has been discriminated against, adding that she also encouraged them to get out of the sex industry.
Dr Mujahid added that Nisha had also told him that she was not aware that her photograph was used in the exhibition.
"She also told me that she did not care about the removal of the photograph," he said.
He said what was important right now was that there was a need to eradicate the hate and discrimination culture face by the community in the work place and also in public areas.
"We cannot practice favouritism policies when carrying out preaching works, where Islam too did not encourage its believers to hurt other people. Their rights as Malaysians cannot be denied," he said.