Don’t marginalise HIV patients, Muslims told in World AIDS Day sermon


Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — Federal Territories Islamic Department (Jawi) has urged Muslims not to marginalise those who have been diagnosed with HIV, calling them to provide help and support instead.

In this week’s Friday sermon distributed to mosques in the territories, Jawi said all Muslims must shoulder the responsibilities in preventing HIV from spreading.

“The question is, how do we as Muslims, act when faced with a person with AIDS? This is where our attitudes and behaviour will be tested.

“We need to realise that, there are among them, who are truly sorry and repentant, and want to start a new life. There are also among them victims of unavoidable circumstances.

“Therefore, we should not marginalise them. Always provide help, support and motivation, as well as assist and guide them to live a more meaningful life,” said the sermon in conjunction with World AIDS Day yesterday.

Despite that, Jawi had blamed “rampant” zina, or illicit sex, for the spread of AIDS by citing prominent Egyptian theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

“This is why the wisdom of Islam has chosen to prohibit illicit sex itself, in comparison to efforts of mere prevention based on a technical nature without banning such actions,” it claimed.

The sermon added that the prohibition of illicit sex in Islam would not only benefit in curbing the spread of HIV, but also prevent Muslims from torture in the afterlife for breaking Islamic law that prohibit zina.

Contrary to Jawi’s claim, HIV can still spread through unprotected sex even when the sex is considered legitimate in Islam, such as between a married couple.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said in April that Putrajaya will be increasing HIV screenings and sex education programmes in a bid to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

Children’s welfare advocates have in the past criticised the poor level of sex education for youths in the country, with even parents’ groups calling for an improved syllabus for prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

Due to cultural mores and customs, the subject of sex education in Malaysia has been treated as a taboo. Sex education modules are currently taught only in secondary schools and focus on abstinence.