Woman who hugged imam now receiving treatment

National 1 minute, 36 seconds

BELAIT

THE Religious Office in Belait has denied viral rumours that a woman who rushed to hug an imam at Muhammad Jamalul Alam Mosque after he delivered the last Friday's sermon was “possessed”.

Belait's head religious officer Hj Asminan Hj Chuchu and the imam involved in the commotion told The Brunei Times yesterday that Friday’s incident was immediately reported to the police as a case of public disturbance, but said the 27-year-old woman’s actions were neither malicious nor violent.

“The Friday prayers were delayed by the incident, as the imam had to deal with the situation, and the physical contact (hugging) cancelled his wudhu (ablution). Another imam was called to lead the prayers,” said Hj Asminan.

The Royal Brunei Police Force when contacted yesterday, said that there was no indication for charges to be filed, adding that the woman is now receiving treatment in a hospital.

Imam Hj Mohd Alias Bakar said the 27-year-old, who he claimed to have never met before, rushed to hug his legs soon as he descended from the mimbar (pulpit), while crying and screaming for forgiveness.

“She kept repeating ‘forgive me’, ‘I have sinned’, ‘I want to repent’. I was caught by surprise myself, and tried to calm her by offering advice, but she would not let go,” said Hj Mohd Alias, who with the help of other congregants was able to eventually defuse the situation.

The 27-year-old was later brought to the imam's office, as it was feared that she would disrupt the Friday prayers. Her husband then arrived, followed by the police. The couple was then brought to the nearby station for statement.

Several versions of the incident were shared over social media platforms over last weekend, but the head religious officer urged caution over “simply taking them as truth”.

“We do not want to cause any unwarranted panic or incite any fear to the public,” said Hj Asminan.

The Brunei Times