12/20/2011 04:04 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Ariff Alfian Rosli, 'Missing' Malaysian Student, Weds Same-Sex Partner Jonathan And Sparks Fury In Homeland

The same-sex wedding of a medical student from Malaysia once thought to be missing has sparked the ire of Muslim groups in his native country.

As The Malaysian Insider is reporting, photos of Ariff Alfian Rosli's civil union to his Irish partner, who is known only as Jonathan, were published last week, three years after the University College Dublin medical student had been reported as missing by his family.

Reports of the union were published on the front pages of local newspapers In Malaysia, where same-sex relationships are illegal and punishable by up to 20 years in prison. "The marriage is a disgrace to our religion, race and country," Kepong Islamic Youth Orga­nisation (PBIK) chairman Norizan Ali, whose group has lodged a police report urging investigation into the case, is quoted as saying by the Malaysia Chronicle.

Not surprisingly, the stories quickly drew staunch criticism from locals on Twitter:

Rosli spoke out to The Irish Times in an effort to correct inaccurate comments about him in the Malaysian media, but did not comment on the relationship itself. "I am not missing," he said. "The Irish authorities know I am legally [a] resident here. The Malaysian embassy has also been aware for several years that I am residing here legally." He went on to note, "I feel I have have been inadvertently thrust into the public eye. I just want to get by without upsetting anyone or causing any trouble. My overriding concern is for my family."

The Times also reports the Malaysian prime minister’s office has issued a statement pledging to investigate the matter.