Monday, July 09, 2007

'Moderate' Malaysia becoming less moderate

Long and widely viewed as a model of Islamic moderation, Malaysia is losing the rights to that claim. The truth is, it's getting much harder for non-Muslims in Malaysia, which is 60% Muslim.
Deep in the heart of a Malaysian jungle, a preacher holds a meeting under the scorching midday sun, urging followers not to lose faith after their church was demolished by the government.

The razing of their simple brick church, among a spate of demolitions of non-Muslim places of worship in Malaysia, has heightened fears that the rights of minority faiths are being eroded despite provisions in Malaysian law guaranteeing every person the freedom to profess his own religion.

"Why did the government tear down our church when they say we are free to choose our religion?" asked preacher Sazali Pengsang.
And that's not all. Being born ethnic Malay means you're born Muslim, which in Malaysia is like joining the mafia insofar as the only way out is in a box:
The issue of religion has also been controversial for Muslims. They are not allowed to formally renounce Islam, and apostates are sent for counseling and, ultimately, fined or jailed if they do not desist.

Lina Joy, a Muslim by birth who converted to Christianity, recently lost a six-year battle to have the word "Islam" removed from her identity card.
Hat tip: Hot Air headlines.

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