Muslims were outraged when a transgender activist documented their religious pilgrimage while wearing clothing intended for women.
34-year-old Nur Sajat was born a male and named Muhammad Sajjad Kamaruzzaman, but she angered many when she wore a telekung, a prayer garment for females, while participating in the Umrah, a religious pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, sacred Islamic sites in Saudi Arabia.
Sajat is from Malaysia, which is a Muslim-majority country.
Malaysian Islamic affairs minister Mujahid Yusof criticized the Instagram celebrity, who has 1.6 million followers on the popular social media site.
"I will take firm steps over the action of Muhammad Sajad Kamaruz Zaman, who uploaded photos and video of him wearing women's prayer garments when in Mecca which circulated widely on the social media and led to discomfort among Muslims," he told reporters, according to the Straits Times.
"What's important is that we want to safeguard the interests of Islam and all Muslims must adhere to shariah law," he added.
Other voices in the Islamic world called for tolerance and acceptance of Sajat in consideration that she was acting as a faithful Muslim and participating in a holy ritual.
"She also probably didn't disturb any other fellow Muslims around her on holy ground. So, why not respect the way she identifies herself?" asked Mustafa Akyol, a prominent Turkish scholar. "I think the right Islamic response to this fact is not discrimination or persecution, but rather compassion and help."
Sajat apologized in a video posted to social media, but she also criticized those who objected to her presence at the holy sites.
"If I was religiously distant before, do they want me to throw away my faith? I am sad, why aren't people like me accepted in the house of God?" she said, according to a translation.