“I Don’t Want to Change Myself” Anti-LGBT Conversion Practices, Discrimination, and Violence in Malaysia

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08/10/2022

In February 2021, Nur Sajat, a cosmetics entrepreneur, failed to appear in court in the western Malaysian state of Selangor to answer to criminal charges for “insulting Islam” based on her attire. Malaysia’s religious enforcement officials sprang into action. Selangor’s religious department issued a warrant for her arrest and announced that it had mobilized 122 religious affairs officers to hunt her down. Months later, when Nur Sajat resurfaced in neighboring Thailand, Malaysia sought her extradition. Malaysian authorities insisted that Sajat need not worry: the massive deployment of law enforcement and diplomatic wrangling to force her back to Malaysia was intended not to “punish” but rather to “educate” her. After a public outcry in her defense, Thailand allowed Sajat to stay in the country under the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and eventually to settle in Australia.

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