Malaysian Chinese housewife handed jail term for insulting Islam

Tham Yut Mooi was found guilty of three counts of insulting the prophet at the mosque in May last year.
Tham Yut Mooi was found guilty of three counts of insulting the prophet at the mosque in May last year.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - A Malaysian woman was given a six-month jail term Friday (Dec 15) for making offensive remarks about the Prophet Mohammed in a mosque, state media said, a fresh sign of growing tensions in the multi-ethnic country.

Tham Yut Mooi, from the country's ethnic Chinese minority, was found guilty of three counts of insulting the prophet at the mosque in northern Perak state in May last year, the state-run Bernama news agency said.

The 46-year-old housewife was also fined RM15,000 ringgit (S$4,948) at a magistrate's court in the city of Ipoh.

However the mother-of-two will not begin serving her jail term immediately as she is appealing the conviction.

The case highlighted the long-simmering tensions between the Muslim Malay majority and the country's ethnic and religious minorities.

Malays make up about 60 per cent of Malaysia's 32 million inhabitants, and the country is also home to substantial ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities.

Critics say the government has exacerbated religious and ethnic divisions by pandering to Muslim hardliners and cracking down on anything deemed un-Islamic in a bid to maintain support in the Malay heartlands.