Thousands of Malaysians are backing a campaign for the release of a Muslim couple after they were arrested in Sweden for allegedly smacking their 12-year-old son's hand when he refused to pray.

Azizul Raheem Awalludin, who is the Stockholm director of the Malaysian tourist board, has been on remand for over a month with his teacher wife Shalwati Nurshal, and anger back home has erupted over both their detainment without charge, and that their four children were placed with non-Muslim foster parents.

A Facebook page, Bring Shal and Family Home, has amassed more than 14,000 followers in five days as the Malaysian media reports that the oldest child, Aisyah, is uncomfortable about living in a house where non-halal food is served and a dog is kept.

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