Malaysian PM says caning of lesbians counter to “compassion of Islam”

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s government has appeared divided about the LGBT community. (File/AFP)
Updated 06 September 2018
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Malaysian PM says caning of lesbians counter to “compassion of Islam”

  • The two Muslim women were caned for trying to have lesbian sex
  • The Malaysian government is divided on the issue of homosexuality

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday denounced the caning of two Muslim women for attempting lesbian sex, a sentence that sparked outrage and raised fears about the treatment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
The women had pleaded guilty to charges under Islamic laws forbidding lesbian sex. They were caned on Monday in front of dozens of people at a sharia court in Terengganu, a conservative state in the east, prompting an outcry from human rights activists, who described the punishment as torture.
Mahathir’s government has appeared divided about the LGBT community, while the premier himself had been silent on the caning and recent attacks on transgender people and marginalized groups in the Muslim-majority country.
In a video posted on his Twitter account, Mahathir said the caning “did not reflect the justice or compassion of Islam.”
It was the women’s first offense, he said, which warranted a lighter sentence, such as counseling.
“This gives a bad impression of Islam,” the 93-year-old leader said. “It is important that we show Islam is not a cruel religion that likes to impose harsh sentences to humiliate others.”
The LGBT community is routinely persecuted in Malaysia, where it is seen as a threat to conservative values.
Mahathir’s government swept into power in May after campaigning on a reform agenda, but has been unconvincing in its handling of matters relating to race, religion and minorities in the multi-racial country.
The caning followed a series of incidents in recent weeks that civil rights groups say illustrate growing hostility against gay and transgender people.
Last month, a gay bar in Kuala Lumpur was raided by police and religious enforcement officials, while a transgender woman was beaten up by a group of assailants in Seremban, near the capital.
The minister in charge of Islamic affairs also came under fire, including from other ruling party lawmakers, after he ordered the removal of portraits of two LGBT activists from an art exhibition.
Malaysia describes oral and anal sex as against the order of nature. Civil law stipulates jail for up to 20 years, caning and fines for offenders, although enforcement of the law is rare.
Muslims are also governed by state-level Islamic laws, most of which carry provisions outlawing same-sex acts.


Marilyn Monroe’s Golden Globe sells for record $250,000 at auction

Updated 18 November 2018
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Marilyn Monroe’s Golden Globe sells for record $250,000 at auction

  • The award has made history as the highest selling Golden Globe sold at auction
  • Monroe picked up the Golden Globe for World Film Favorite Female

Marilyn Monroe’s Golden Globe Award sold for a record-breaking $250,000 at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, California, auction officials said late Saturday.
The 1961 award statue for World Film Favorite Female from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association made history as the highest selling Golden Globe sold at auction.
Monroe’s raven black two-seater, 1956 Ford Thunderbird, which was auctioned for the first time, fetched $490,000 at Icons & Idols: Hollywood, which took place Friday and Saturday.
Monroe, one of the most collectible celebrities, was pictured driving in the car with her husband, playwright Arthur Miller, shortly after their June 1956 wedding.
The movie star owned the vehicle for six years until shortly before her death in 1962.
Darren Julien, president of Julien’s Auctions, said the car was “not only part of automotive history but comes with an aura of glamor, romance and tragedy of a true Hollywood legend.”
Monroe gifted the Thunderbird to the son of her acting coach, Lee Strasberg, in 1962.
The current owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, tracked the vehicle down through registration and other documents. The car has undergone restoration but retains many original parts.
Monroe’s copy of Playboy’s first issue with her on the cover, signed by publisher Hugh Hefner, sold for $32,000 along with almost a dozen other items owned by the iconic actress.
The auction also included items from other celebrities including pop stars Tina Turner and Cher.