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MALAYSIA - Nov 23, 2008

With no evidence to back up their bizarre theory, Malaysia's Islamic religious council have issued a fatwa against Muslim women dressing mannishly in an effort to prevent lesbianism.

Despite abundant evidence to the contrary, Muslims believe that each human being's fitrah, or sexual inclination, is determined by their gender at birth. Those born with a penis, for example, are believed to be masculine and only attracted to women throughout their lives. The fact that homosexuality and bisexuality exist in roughly the same proportion in every human culture, and that homosexuality is observed in many animal species that never wear clothing, does not seem to have registered with the National Fatwa Council.

Termed pengkid, women who have the appearance or mannerisms and sexual orientation similar to straight men are causing concern to the seemingly straight men who set rules about how Malay Muslim women should act.

The announcement of the anti-tomboy fatwa, along with a fatwa banning Muslims from practicing yoga, was met with protest and disappointment by many Muslims who feel their faith is being diminished by such petty edicts.

New Straits Times press photographer and mother, Shiraz Yasmin Ali, said she feels it is "wrong and unnecessary" for the council to dictate how women should dress or wear their hair.

Datuk Wan Mohamad Shiekh Abd Aziz, Director General of the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia defended the fatwa stating, "Do we want to wait for it [homosexuality] to be of disaster proportions before we take action?

No mention was made whether the traditional gowns worn by men across across the Muslim world may lead to the homosexual activity which seems to be commonplace in even strictly religious countries.

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