Despite making the nation proud by winning the gold medal at the Japan Para Cycling Cup 2015, Malaysian cycling duo Muhammad Afiq Afify and Mohamad Hafiz Mohamed Sufian became the subject of debate for all the wrong reasons.

It all began on Monday (2nd November) when mobile prepaid MVNO service provider Tune Talk tweeted a congratulatory message to the local cycling duo, along with a photograph of them posing with their medals in matching skintight yellow-and-black attires.

Translation: Congratulations Hafiz Sufian and Muhammad Afiq for winning the gold medal for Malaysia at the Japan Para Cycling Cup 2015! #MISIM

However, the duo’s skimpy bicycle shorts immediately drew a heated online discussion on the microblogging site instead.

As both Muslim women and men are prohibited in Islam from exposing their aurat, Twitter user Adi Johari responded to the tweet under his Twitter handle @omgbbqsauce with a post: “Tapi sayang tak tutp aurat.” (Translation: But it’s a shame they did not cover their “aurat”.)


Johari’s comment didn’t go unnoticed as Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin took a screenshot of the reply, posted the image on his Twitter account, and said: “They won for Malaysia and the focus is on, 3, 2, 1…

The image immediately sparked debate online, with some Twitter users taking Johari’s side by saying that the post was meant to be sarcastic. Some users rebuked Johari instead by telling him that such attire was necessary for cyclists to be more aerodynamic. Twitter user @SanjivT expressed his “pity” for the cyclists whose victories were overshadowed by an unnecessary debate.

In an attempt to end the argument, Tune Talk later posted another tweet by saying that they were “just congratulating them, not looking for their flaws”. They added, “You guys please don’t fight. We are one gang.”

Earlier in June this year, Malaysian gymnast Farah Ann Abdul Hadi received the similar treatment from the online community. She won the gold medal at the recent SEA Games in Singapore, but drew “unwanted attention” from netizens who complained that she did not cover her “aurat” and wore leotard that showed the shape of her private part.

Farah Ann SEA Games 2015

The term “aurat” refers to parts of a Muslim’s body that must be clothed. However, criticisms are often targeted against women as they are expected to fully clothed in protection of their honour and intergrity.

As at time of writing, Sufia and Afiq have not commented on the matter regarding their attire yet. But what do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Source: The Malay Mail Online.

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