Be careful with words, actions, Imams urge

Azlan Othman

The unwelcome nature of sexual harassment was addressed in the Friday sermon yesterday, including the lingering effects on the victims, regardless of gender.

“Comments or jokes which are disrespectful, offensive and lewd are considered verbal abuse if they cause the victims to feel uncomfortable, distressed and annoyed,” said Imams while delivering the sermon.

“Among the behaviours which fall within the definition of sexual harassment are verbal harassment through the sending or posting of explicit messages, images, videos and reading materials through social media; and physical encounters such as touching, patting, pinching, holding and unnecessary proximity.

“It also includes non-verbal cues such as glancing, staring, gazing, hand gestures and body language.”

The sermon urged Muslims to guard their speech and to refrain from acts which can affect their relationships with family, friends, neighbours and colleagues.

“If injustice and evil acts were being perpetrated, then we, as Muslims, are required to put a stop to them,” said Imams.

“This corresponds to the concept of amar ma’ruf nahimunkar (doing good deeds and prohibiting wrong) to prevent the incidences of sexual acts which leave a negative impact on the victims.

“Sexual harassment is undoubtedly a violation of the principles of Maqasid Syariah (objective of Islamic law), especially in safeguarding the soul and the spirit. Our faith strictly prohibits any form of sexual misconduct, because it is related to one’s soul, dignity and honour.

“Allah the Almighty taught us to be respectful and compassionate towards other. Therefore, let us all maintain good manners, ethics and behaviour so that our relationships and mahabbah (love) will remain strong and steadfast for always.”