A Malaysian dog trainer, accused of insulting Islam with her Eid greeting video, has been arrested and charged under the serious Sedition Act. She was even denied access to her lawyer.
Maznah Yusof, 38, was under public glare for the video which showed the dog lover cleaning and feeding her pets on the occasion of the Muslim festival of Eid. In Islam, dogs are considered unclean and 'haram' and any contact with the animal is discouraged.
Her arrest on Wednesday under the grave charges of sedition, or inciting religious hatred, which carried stringent punishments has not gone down well with her lawyer Latheefa Koya.
"This is outrageous. BN and Umno (political parties) are responsible for stoking this ill-feeling and tension. Maznah has been denied her access to lawyers and I am still waiting to see when they will release her. This hysteria has to stop," Latheefa Koya was quoted as saying by Malaysia Chronicle.
She raised questions on why Maznah was being tried under the charge, "This is overkill as usual. The Investigating Officer had indicated Section 298A, why the need for Sedition Act. These are very serious charges and yet they can bar her from being represented. It is clear breach of the Constitution."
The dog lover has previously clarified that the video was not made with the intention of disrespecting the religion.
"I have no intention to demean Islam; I had begun making the video just for fun but later decided to 'educate' outsiders on dogs and cleanliness," said the 38-year-old as quoted by Mynewshub.com.
An enraged Maznah even replied to a Facebook user's hate comment saying, "Your religion is my religion. It's not my responsibility if you misinterpret the message I tried to spread in that video."
The video drew flak in the event of the recent outrage against sex bloggers Alvin tan and Vivian Lee's sacrilegious Ramadan greeting, which had the duo enjoying a pork meal.
Maznah had also reported that a Muslim cleric (Imama) had abused her for posting the video and had to be restrained by police officials from lunging at her.
Deputy Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had also slammed Manzah's video and sought immediate action as he believed such insults on Muslims might lead to protest and dishevel the harmony in the multi-ethnic country.