July 6, 2007 / 10:54 AM / 12 years ago

Singer draws ire of religious police

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia’s religious police detained a Muslim singer at a popular club, saying too much of her back was exposed by a sleeveless blouse she wore while performing, media reported on Wednesday.

Siti Noor Idayu Abd Moin, 24, has been ordered to go before the sharia, or Islamic court, at Ipoh in the northern state of Perak, on Aug 6, to face charges of “revealing her body” and “promoting vice,” the New Straits Times said.

“I was surprised when the officers told me this top was too revealing,” Noor Idayu said after being released from a night’s detention on a bond of 1,000 ringgit ($290).

“Sometimes I wear something similar when I go out in the day. This is sexy? I don’t think so.”

The singer was picked up along with four members of her band, and subjected to repeated breathalyzer tests by officials in futile attempts to prove she had drunk liquor, the paper said.

“When I passed the test, the female officers seemed disappointed and asked me to do it again,” Noor Idayu said. “I did so willingly as I knew that I did not drink. Not once in my three years of singing in clubs have I drunk liquor.”

Alcohol is freely available in mainly Muslim Malaysia, which has sizeable non-Muslim minorities, although Islamic officials often frown on behavior they consider to deviate from strict Koranic injunctions.

“A Muslim woman is not allowed to serve or entertain a man who is not her husband in a place where immoral activities usually take place,” Jamry Sury, chief of the Perak religious police who raided the club, told the Star newspaper.

$1 = 3.445 malaysian ringgit

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