Women in northern Malaysia are being offered advice on how to dress and how to behave in public by learned religious authorities who are concerned for their welfare. The Pan-Malaysian Islamist Party, which recently scored a large success in an election, has undertaken the responsibility of letting women know what is expected of them when they go to work or get a bite to eat in a restaurant. Women have been given pamphlets which suggest they avoid using lipstick and make certain they are not wearing those flashy high heels which, for some reason, attract rapists in Malaysia. The Islamist party has already segregated beaches to keep men and women apart and even requires separate check out lines in supermarkets. Of course, any couples found sitting together on a park bench face the prospect of a fine and a lecture. Critics of the party refer to it as, “Taliban-Light.”
It is such behavior by Islamist parties which cause people in the world to shake their head in bewilderment. Who decided wearing high heels was a provocative action? Why does wearing lipstick entice men to attack women? Such edicts only make non-believers even more firm in their non-belief.