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WORMROT ARRESTED BY ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS DEPARTMENT IN MALAYSIA

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Well, this is upsetting.

On New Year’s Day, Wormrot were arrested in Kuala Lampur by the Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Selangor Islamic Religious Department), according to True Cult Heavy Metal (via a posting on Wormrot’s Facebook page). Their crime? Daring to mingle with unmarried women.

Here’s the story from the band’s manager, Azean. I’m going to post this in full and then add my thoughts afterwards:

“After several questions and telling us that it is wrong for unmarried Muslim men and women to be in one room, they took our passports and we were taken to the police station to give our statements and call someone to bail us.

“5 of us were taken into custody. Arif [vocals], Rasyid [guitars], Fit [drums], his girlfriend who is Arif’s little sister and myself. Rasyid’s girlfriend was not taken into custody coz she’s not Muslim and Fiaz [Asilent bassist, with them at the time] was from another room. When we got out of the hotel to be escorted into the police lorry which already has some couples who were caught earlier than us, around 30 – 40 more people from JAIS, passerby and maybe some people from the media took pictures of us as though they had busted the most biggest crime for the night.  We were taken to the Taman Muda Police Station and had to sit on the floor to wait for the organizer, Emi, to come and bail us out.  Emi arrived at 4am and he had talked to one of the JAIS staff.  At around 4.15am, we were taken to another police station as there was no high ranking officer to do up the reports.  Again everyone had to be escorted into the lorry to be driven to Pandan Indah Police Station.  However, when we arrived there, we were still held in the lorry as the high ranking staff from JAIS have not arrived.  At around 5am, when they finally arrived, we thought that we will be taken into the police station for our statements.  But… in the end… we were let off with just a warning.  We were nearly fined $3000 MYR ($950 USD) per person if Emi did not call his lawyer up and we being Singaporeans. Plus we weren’t doing any sexual intercourse when they entered our room.

“By the time Emi sent us back to our hotel, it was already 5.30am. We were beyond exhausted as we had been awake since 5am the day before, performing and then the hotel drama.

“Please do not think badly of the religion. Every religion is peaceful. Like I’ve said before, in every religion, there’s always some people who are extremists. Don’t condemn the religion just because of these jokers.

“We would like to thank Emi, Tiong, Dyn and all our friends who had given us the best hospitality anyone could ever asked for.  And all the grinders who came down for the show to support all the bands.  This is the best New Year celebration for us!”

I’m glad everything turned out okay and that I’m not writing to implore you to contribute to some “Free Wormrot!” legal fund, and I’m impressed that the band does not seem at all angry about what happened (not only does Azean make a point to say “do not think badly of [the Muslim] religion,” but the aforementioned posting on the band’s FB page is titled “Pretty Hilarious”). They’re certainly handling this a lot better than I would.

But these stories always scare the shit out of me, for (what should be) obvious reasons — the whole incident easily could have gone a very different way, and the band would have been more or less fucked. Moments like these make me legitimately proud to be a ‘Merican — we may be dumb as a pile of bricks, but, at least for now, we’re allowed to talk to girls without fear of being arrested.

-AR

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