Activists reported on Sunday that Islamic religious police in Malaysia broke up a Halloween celebration attended by the LGBT community and jailed 20 people for allegedly promoting immorality and cross-dressing.
Actor Numan Afifi, who was detained during the raid in Kuala Lumpur, characterised the incident as ‘traumatising and terrible.’
According to him, the music and dancing were stopped when ‘around 40 religious officers backed by the police came into the site with about 1,000 participants.’
According to Numan, the authorities separated partygoers into two groups: Muslims and adherents of other religions.
Subsequently, 20 Muslims were taken to the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department where ‘our identity details were recorded.’
‘Some were alleged to have committed offences under cross-dressing while others, including me, for encouraging vice,’ Numan said.
The 20 were all freed shortly after, although they will all likely be questioned again the following week.
Conservative attitudes have weakened the country’s once-proud reputation for moderation and tolerance, which has led to persistent discrimination against the LGBT population.