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The Malaysian Authorities Are After Some Teen Girls for Being Hugged and Kissed by a K-Pop Group

The girls lived out a teenaged fantasy onstage, but now the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department wants them to turn themselves in for an "indecent act."

The tudung-wearing girls were living out a teenage fantasy .One held hands with a white-clad idol as she backed up on her tiptoes, seemingly overwhelmed with joy. Another girl, draped in a red headscarf, was pulled into an embrace and then sent on her way off-stage with a pat on the back. A third alternately covered her face with her hands and fanned herself as if to stave off collapse before being brought in for a hug. The luckiest was serenaded with "Happy Birthday" in English before a member of the Korean pop group B1A4 planted a kiss on her forehead.


All this happened last Saturday, at a B1A4 performance in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Such meet-and-greets are fairly routine for boy bands, but when the video was later posted to YouTube days later, it drew a harsh reaction from Muslims within the country, and now the religious authorities are seeking to prosecute the teenaged fans.

Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country with sharia courts that run parallel to its secular ones; police can enforce fatwas issued by Muslim clerics. In such a climate, a video of young women being publicly wooed by singers is bound to cause a bit of a stir, though it seemed to have made the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (JAWI) and its director, Paimuzi Yahya, particularly furious. Yahya's given the girls a week to show themselves.

"The JAWI enforcement division has opened an investigation under Section 29 of the Syariah Criminal Offenses (Federal Territories) Act 1977 (Act 599 Indecent Acts in Public Places," Yahya told the Star newspaper in a statement. "Those who are involved are asked to come forward."

Apparently the girls face up to six months in prison and a fine if they don't cooperate, although the JAWI did not respond to inquiries from VICE as to whether the girls have since turned themselves in.

The concert first came to the JAWI's attention after Sukan Star TV posted a video on Facebook. The description of the video claims the girls were "molested," drawing angry reactions from Muslim commenters. Subsequently, it went viral and currently has more than 2 million views.

B1A4 was put together by WM Entertainment in 2011. WM Entertainment is one of the entertainment powerhouses in Korea that forms pop groups with military efficiency and pours millions of dollars worth of resources into each of their members. The company did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Other officials in Malaysia had objection about the video that weren't religious. Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted that the members of B1A4 weren't masculine enough to receive the massive female adulation they get.

"Ladies, look for tall, dark and handsome men instead of pale, skinny and pretty men," he wrote. "That's not a real man."

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