KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysia's Muslim men are suffering sleepless nights and cannot pray properly because their thoughts are distracted by a growing number of women who wear sexy clothes in public, a prominent cleric said.
Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the spiritual leader of the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, said he wanted to speak about the "emotional abuse" that men face because it is seldom discussed, the party reported on its Web site Wednesday.
"We always [hear about] the abuse of children and wives in households, which is easily perceived by the eye, but the emotional abuse of men cannot be seen," Nik Abdul Aziz said. "Our prayers become unfocused and our sleep is often disturbed."
Nik Abdul Aziz has made controversial comments about women in the past, including that women should stop wearing lipstick and perfume to lower the risk of being raped. Women's groups have slammed his statements, saying Islam teaches both men and women to be responsible for modesty. They say comments like these encourage rapes because it puts the onus on women.
Nik Abdul Aziz's fundamentalist party has about 800,000 members. He is also the chief minister of northeastern Kelantan, the only one of Malaysia's 13 states that is not ruled by the moderate National Front governing coalition.
His party's Web site published an illustration Wednesday of how women should dress — in long, flowing headscarves covering their hair and chests and "baggy and loose" long-sleeved, floor-length dresses.
Most women from Malaysia's Malay Muslim majority wear a modest form of Islamic clothing, though younger women in cities sometimes wear body-hugging dresses or tight T-shirts and jeans.
In Kelantan, the Islamic party has fined Muslim women for not wearing headscarves in workplaces and implemented separate check-out lines for men and women in supermarkets.