Malaysian Muslims seek action over man 'missing' in Ireland
A MALAYSIAN student who reportedly had a civil partnership with an Irishman has been caught up in a political storm of controversy in his home country.
Ariff Alfian Rosli (28) has been resident in Ireland since moving here eight years ago to study medicine at a university in Dublin.
After an apparent disagreement with his son in 2009, Mr Rosli’s father reported him missing to Malaysian authorities.
In recent days, pictures emerged on the internet which appeared to be of Mr Rosli in traditional Malaysian dress with his civil partner in Ireland at an event at Dublin City Hall.
The pictures were published on the front pages of some local newspapers and have been the source of criticism from numerous political groups in Malaysia, where same-sex sexual relationships are illegal and punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The Malaysian police have been urged by Muslim groups to investigate the issue on the basis that Mr Rosli has failed to adhere to the country’s Islamic laws.
The controversy has prompted the Malaysian prime minister’s office to issue a statement pledging to investigate the matter.
An official from Malaysia’s ruling political party is reportedly due to arrive in Dublin later this week to convince Mr Rosli to return home.
Mr Rosli yesterday told The Irish Times he was not missing and wished to correct inaccurate comments about him in the Malaysian media.
“I am not missing. The Irish authorities know I am legally resident here. The Malaysian embassy has also been aware for several years that I am residing here legally,” he said.
“I feel I have have been inadvertently thrust into the public eye. I just want to get by without upsetting anyone or causing any trouble. My overriding concern is for my family.”
He declined to comment on whether he had a civil partnership or was involved in a same-sex relationship. Homosexuality is still a taboo issue in Malaysia.
Advocates for gay rights say many Malaysians remain afraid to come out publicly for fear of religious condemnation or prosecution.
Mr Rosli also said reports that he had renounced his Muslim faith were inaccurate.
“I have not converted to any religion, contrary to what has been reported. I was born a Muslim, I am still a Muslim and will remain a Muslim ’til the day I die. Nothing will shake me from my faith.”
He also said he was in regular contact with his family and was baffled at how his “disappearance” had become a major source of controversy in his home country. However, he has not spoken with his father – a retired naval officer – for several years.
“I had a disagreement with my father in 2009, after which he reported me missing . . . I’m not in communication with him, but I am in regular contact with my other family members,” he added.