KUALA LUMPUR: Facing flak from various women organisations across
the country for recommending chastity belts for women, a well-respected cleric
here has claimed that his statement was just a joke. "Joke aje. It was
not seriously meant," said Datuk Abu Hassan din al-Hafiz on Friday after reports
in various sections of media published his comments that women should wear
chastity belts to thwart rape and incest, which are rampant nowadays.
Abu Hassan had said chastity belts would protect victims and also help reduce sex crime rate. "We have even come across a number of unusual sex cases, where even senior citizens and children are not spared. The best way to avert sex perpetrators is to wear protection," he told a gathering on Friday.
However, he changed his tune and claimed his comments at the forum were not meant to be a suggestion. "Its not practical to wear a chastity belt in this day and age. It can’t be done," Abu Hassan was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times on Saturday. In an immediate response to media reports carrying the cleric's comments, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil said the government was not interested in an idea from the pre-Islamic age of jahiliyah (ignorance).
"It is better to have a steel-like iman (faith) rather than wearing the belt. If a person is bent on doing it (rape), he would find a way to do it even if ones whole body is covered with metal," she was quoted as saying by the paper.