Malaysia’s National Fatwa Council has issued an edict banning girls from behaving or dressing in a boyish way, reports the country’s national news agency Bernama.

According to Abdul Shukor Husin, chairman of the council, the fatwa was issued following a number of cases in which girls were found to be dressing like boys and engaging in lesbian sex.

“There are teenage girls who prefer the male lifestyle including dressing up in men’s clothes. More worryingly, they have started to engage in sexual activities.”

The penalty for tomboyish behaviour has not been revealed, but cross-dressing men have previously received fines and been imprisoned by Malaysian courts under public immorality laws.

The Southeast Asian country is highly intolerant of homosexuality. Sodomy can be punished by up to 20 years imprisonment while “gross indecency with another male person” can result in two years imprisonment.

Two Malaysian states have enacted local sharia laws that can punish sodomy with death.

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