KUALA LUMPUR: A Muslim TV anchor's decision to support cancer awareness by chopping off her hair has cost the woman her job at a Malaysian channel, which wants her to grow back her mane to an "acceptable" length before being allowed to resume her work.
Popular Malaysian NTV7 news anchor and television personality Ras Adiba Mohd Radzi has also claimed to have received anonymous calls abusing her for defying a 'fatwa' prohibiting women from shaving their head, local media reported today.
Ras Adiba, who works on a freelance basis for NTV7, cropped her hair on Friday last to show solidarity with The National Cancer Council cancer awareness campaign.
However, NTV7 found her new look too much to handle, ruling that she could no longer appear on air until her hair grows back to an acceptable length, Star newspaper said.
An NTV7 source said Ras Adiba had approached them before getting shorn, and the management had told her that if her hair was cropped, she would not be allowed to announce the news, the paper said.
She was told that once her hair had grown, she could resume her part-time position as newscaster.
"We can't put a bald person on air, especially for news and the anchor is a woman. We have to upkeep a certain look and feel.
"Ras suggested a wig, which we were against because it would look strange for her to appear on air in a wig and then in public with a shaved head," the source said.
The source also added that that NTV7's management had fully supported Ras Adiba's cause and had left the decision to her.
Ras Adiba's has also received anonymous calls abusing her for defying a fatwa that prohibits women from shaving their head. "The callers claimed to be from a religious department," she told the paper.
However, Ras Adiba said she did her research before cutting off her locks, adding that she still had hair and that her scalp could not be seen.
"I am answerable to God. Islam is a way of life, and we are told to always help people. I am a Muslim, I pray five times a day and I love my religion," she said.
"My late stepfather died of cancer, my uncle is a cancer survivor. I have many friends going through it, and it breaks my heart."
She has currently taken to wearing a turban chosen for her by her young son, as she finds it comfortable.