Malaysian Cleric Refuses to Bar 3,000 Muslim AIDS Sufferers From Marrying
May 25, 2004
Despite fears of transmitting HIV to their offspring, Malaysian cleric Harussani Zakaria has refused to bar some 3,000 HIV-infected Muslims from marrying by the end of the year, the Malay-language newspaper Berita Minggu reported Sunday. A health department officer in central Perak state had approached Zakaria to block the marriages, but Zakaria told the newspaper the Islamic department would refuse the request because this could encourage the couples to have illicit sex. "We don't have the power to stop anyone from marrying even though they could endanger the health of another person," said Zakaria, adding that only the father of a female virgin could block the wedding. In southern Johor state, the Islamic religious department in November 2001 instituted pre-nuptial HIV testing for Muslim men to check the spread of HIV/AIDS, the newspaper said. State heath department officials declined to comment on the marriages, saying they had yet to verify the reports.
Agence France Presse
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.