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Ecumenical News: The Malaysian church which took down its cross in April after Muslim protesters pressured it to do so has vowed to put the symbol back on its building.
Malaymail Online: There is more freedom of religion in Malaysia compared to Singapore and the United States, both of which imposes stricter laws against various faiths, a prominent Christian preacher said today.
The Malaysian Insider: Muslims in secular Malaysia, who are also subjected to Islamic laws, will be discriminated if a religious council’s proposition to exempt them from enjoying all fundamental rights under the Federal Constitution is allowed, lawyers said.
The Wall Street Journal (AP): Thousands of Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshis abandoned at sea by human traffickers had nowhere to go Thursday, as Malaysia turned away two boats crammed with migrants, and Thailand kept at bay a third boat with hundreds more.
Reuters: Malaysia has ordered an investigation into a protest by Muslim demonstrators who forced a small church in the capital to take down its cross, the latest sign of growing religious tension in the multiracial Southeast Asian nation.
International Business Times: A Malaysian Islamist party successfully passed measures Thursday that could see harsh Islamic criminal punishments carried out in the state it governs.
Ecumenical News: Police in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia have arrested a human rights lawyer who drew public ire when he said a government agency handling Islamic affairs spreads extremism.
The New York Times: This is a sensitive area I’m wading into here, I realize. Islam-haters in America and the West seize upon incidents like these to denounce Islam as a malignant religion of violence, while politically correct liberals are reluctant to say anything for fear of feeding bigotry. Yet there is a real issue here of religious tolerance, affecting millions of people, and we should be able to discuss it.
Malay Mail Online: “Khalid declined to comment on his administration’s role leading to BSM’s exit from Selangor, choosing to highlight instead that it was duty-bound to uphold the state’s laws, when asked to comment on BSM’s apparent lack of confidence in the Selangor government’s ability to prevent a repeat of a January raid and seizure of 200 bibles at its office.”
Associated Press: “Malaysia and Indonesia have banned the biblical epic ‘Noah,’ joining other Muslim nations that forbid the Hollywood movie for its visual depiction of the prophet.”
The Malay Mail: “Ever since she was arrested for khalwat three years ago, Christian Indonesian Halimah has lived in fear of being thrown into jail in a foreign land for an offence she had no way of understanding. That fear was reinforced after the Penang Shariah Court convicted her of being in close proximity with a person of the opposite gender who is not her spouse or relative, an offence under Islamic law and enforceable exclusively on Muslims, which further bewildered Halimah.”
Asia News: “The Federal Court heard the parties’ arguments but adjourned the case ‘to a later date.’ For the first time, a panel of seven judges will settle a civil matter. Outside the courthouse, hundreds of Muslim protesters tried to put pressure on the judges. Herald editor says Christians fast and pray for a favourable ruling.”
The High Courts in Malaysia and Unilateral Conversion of a Child to Islam by One Parent | Australian Journal of Asian Law
This article examines the recent, groundbreaking decision of the Ipoh High Court in Perak in the case of Indira Gandhi concerning the unilateral conversion of children by one parent without the consent of the other. On 25 July 2013, Judicial Commissioner Lee Swee Seng may have started a new approach towards the issue of unilateral conversion of children by one spouse. For the first time, a Malaysian High Court quashed conversions of children to Islam by one parent and ruled that both parents must consent to the conversion of their children.
Free Malaysia Today: “The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) will return bibles seized from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) once the Attorney General (AG) has cleared the case.”
UPI: “Police in Malaysia’s Penang state beefed up security around religious buildings following a Molotov cocktail attack on a church in George Town.”
Free Malaysia Today: “A City Parish church supervisor has called on the police to speed up their investigations and put an end on the current spate of attacks on churches in Penang. John David said the Molotov cocktail attack on the Church of Assumption in Lebuh Farquahar here early today was a threat to racial and religious harmony in the country.”
Telegraph: “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.”
Malay Mail: “A High Court here has frozen all action on a 26-acre land held by a Chinese-owned developer firm, before it decides on reviewing the allegedly unconstitutional compulsory takeover attempt by Selangor’s religious authorities.”
The Malaysian Insider: “Malay rights group Perkasa wants two lawyers investigated for treason over their statements that non-Muslims are not bound by religious edicts (fatwa) issued by state rulers or the National Fatwa Council on issues concerning Islam.”
Reuters: “[Sultan Abdul Halim Mu'adzam] gave his backing on Sunday to a court ruling barring non-Muslims from using the word Allah to refer to God, weighing in for the first time on an issue that has fanned religious tensions in the multi-cultural country.”
Malaysian Insider: “The leave application for the ‘Allah’ case to be heard by the Federal Court does not warrant a full bench, said Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria. Speaking to reporters after the launch of Legal Year 2014 at the Palace of Justice today, Ariffin said that the leave application will be heard by a five-member bench.”
Wall Street Journal: A police investigation of a Roman Catholic priest in Malaysia over accusations of sedition has become the latest round in a worsening struggle between the country’s minority Christians and majority Muslims over how to refer to God.
Malaysia Mail Online: A Muslim group declared war today against Catholic priest Rev. Father Lawrence Andrew, in the latest religious stand-off over use of the word “Allah”.
Free Malaysia Today: Jais officials confiscated about 300 copies of the Al-Kitab (Malay Bibles) and 20 copies of Bup Kudus (Iban Bibles) catering mainly for Christians from Sabah and Sarawak.
Religion Clause Blog: As previously reported, last October Malaysia’s Court of Appeal upheld a licensing condition imposed by the Minister of Security prohibiting the Catholic newspaper The Herald from using the word “Allah” in its Malay language edition to refer to God.
Malaysian Digest: The Church can take the Selangor Islamic authorities to court for prohibiting Christians from referring to God as “Allah” in their religious practices as such a ban is unconstitutional, lawyers have said.
Religion Clause Blog: Three United Nations officials today called on the government of Malaysia to reverse its ban on the Catholic publication, The Herald, using the word “Allah” to refer to God in its Malay language edition. A U.N. press release today reports . . .
Catholic Culture: Malaysia’s leading prelate told the Fides news agency that Catholics will continue to use the word “Allah” to refer to God in the liturgy.
AP: A Malaysian appeals court on Monday upheld a government ban against the use of the word “Allah” to refer to God in non-Muslim faiths, overruling claims by Christians in this Muslim-majority nation that the restriction violates their religious rights.
The Diplomat: Nevertheless, Najib and Malaysia’s opinion in the Islamic world does carry some weight and his speech to the United Nations General Assembly last week on the fast-evolving Sunni-Shia conflict which is taking root in much of the Middle East was refreshingly honest. He put it bluntly, saying a battle is being waged for the future of Islam.
Global Post: A Malaysian court on Thursday ruled against the 2009 conversion of three Hindu children to Islam without their mother’s knowledge, a verdict welcomed by non-Muslim groups.
Catholic Culture: Archbishop Joseph Marino has issued a statement expressing regret for any misunderstandings created by his remark that Christians had made a “logical and acceptable” case for using the word “Allah” in reference to God.
UCanews.com: Leaflets inviting people to a “Bible-burning festival” have stirred outrage in Malaysia. This coincided with a nationalist group leader urging to “seize and burn” Malay-language Bibles, prompting calls for his prosecution.
TheSunDaily.my: A Puteri Umno delegate today called on the authority to take stern action against the individuals who belittle or tarnish the image of Islam in the country.
Radio Australia: Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr has announced an exchange programme between Australia and Malaysia, which he says aims to foster moderate Islam.
Catholic Culture: A leading Malaysian government official is warning non-Muslims that state governments can take punitive action against those who attempt to convert Muslims.
Malaysia Chronicle: He said the establishment of an Islamic state was not a political objective but a religious obligation, which was of higher priority for Pas. “There is no need for me to repeat it as it is nothing new and almost everybody knows it. Pas cannot avoid from implementing anything connected to Islam whether in the economy, social sphere or Islamic law.
Volokh Conspiracy: A bookstore manager was charged in the Syariah High Court here with distributing a banned book by Canadian author Irshad Manji.
Religion Clause Blog: A 5-judge panel of Malaysia’s Federal Court has upheld the constitutionality of Sec. 53(1) of the state of Negeri Sembilan’s Syariah Criminal Enactment 1992 which outlaws Muslims teaching Islam without accreditation by the state’s Islamic Religious Council.
Religion Clause: The New York Times reported yesterday that Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari was stopped by Malaysian authorities at Kuala Lumpur airport on Thursday and was deported back to Saudi Arabia at the request of the Saudi king where the journalist will face blasphemy charges . . .
Religion Clause: In Malaysia yesterday, an appeals court held that civil courts have jurisdiction to hear a case brought by a woman who is challenging the validity of her conversion to Islam as a child.
The Washington Post: Activists launched a rare legal case Tuesday aimed at fostering gay rights in Malaysia by challenging a police ban on an anti-homophobia arts festival.
News from The Associated Press: Islamic authorities will provide counseling to a dozen Malaysian Muslims to “restore their belief and faith” after they attended a community dinner at a church hall . . .
Religion Clause: The Merdeka Center for Opinion Research has recently released a survey of Muslim youth in Indonesia and Malaysia. The study, Values, Dreams, Ideals: Muslim Youth In Southeast Asia, reports on surveys conducted in October and November 2010 among young people age 15 to 25. A portion of the report deals with attitudes of those surveyed toward religion and government. Here is a portion of the report’s conclusions . . .
AP: A Malaysian transsexual who underwent sex-change surgery has lost her bid to officially change her gender, with a court ruling that a person’s sex is determined at birth, her lawyer said Thursday.
Religion Clause Blog: According to the Malay Mail, an appeals court in Malaysia yesterday rejected a claim that the protection in Art. 11(1) of the Malaysian Constitution allowing every person the right to profess and practice his religion precludes prosecution of a follower of Ayah Pin for apostasy by a Syariah court.
International News Network: A vast majority of young Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia disapprove of the traditional acceptance of polygamy. They are, however, reluctant to openly support interfaith marriages or premarital sex, says a new survey.
AP: A 25-year-old Malaysian transsexual wants a court to affirm she is a woman following sex-change surgery so she can change her name and gender on her identification documents, her lawyer said Thursday.
AP: Malaysia’s government sought to defuse new religious tensions Monday following allegations that church leaders were conspiring to make Christianity the official religion in this Muslim-majority country
AP: “Malaysian authorities have sent 66 Muslim schoolboys identified by teachers as effeminate to a four-day camp where they will receive counseling on masculine behavior to discourage them from being gay, an official said Tuesday.”
Catholic Culture: The government of Malaysia has announced plans to allow the importation of Bibles, without the warning label that had been required under an earlier announced policy.
Religion Clause Blog: A Malaysian government minister says that non-Muslims who quote verses from the Qur’an for ulterior motives or to question Islamic practices may be prosecuted under the country’s Penal Code (Sec. 295 – 298A) for insulting the Qur’an.
AP: After Christian leaders voiced anger over the detention of the Bibles, the government agreed earlier this month to release them, but stamped many with serial numbers and government seals that stated they were meant “for Christians only.”
AP: Malaysia’s main Christian grouping on Wednesday rejected a government attempt to settle a protracted row over seized shipments of Malay-language Bibles, calling instead for the right to freely practice its religion.
Religion Clause Blog: “In Malaysia yesterday, the High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) upheld the requirement that only Muslims can practice as Syariah lawyers.”
Religion Clause Blog: The Ministry has stamped on each Bible the warning: “The Good News Bible is for the use of Christians only.”
CNSNews: Malaysia’s government has agreed to release some 35,000 imported Bibles seized by customs officials amid a dispute over the use of the word “Allah” as a translation for God.
FreeMalaysiaToday: “Two DAP MPs take the government to task for holding on to the confiscated Malay-language bibles, and for making contradicatory statements.”
AP: “The main Christian grouping in Muslim-majority Malaysia said Thursday it was “fed up” with the government’s refusal to allow the distribution of tens of thousands of Bibles, saying this was an affront to religious freedoms.”
Associated Press: “In this Muslim-majority country, it’s OK to be Christian, Buddhist or Hindu. But not Shiite. Malaysian religious police raided a three-story shop-house last month and detained more than 100 Shiites who had gathered to mark the death of one of their most beloved saints, Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, who was killed in the year 680.”
CathNews Asia: “A directive to remove crosses, other religious symbols and the ban on hymns at the 2010 Christmas Day celebration at the residence of Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Murphy Pakiam attended by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was the ‘arbritrary decision’ of an aide, reports say.”
Associated Press: “Shia Muslims in Malaysia have made a rare public plea for authorities to let them legally worship amid fears of a clampdown on outlawed religious groups.”
Associated Press: “A Muslim gay man in Malaysia says he fears for his safety after speaking about his sexuality in an Internet video that attracted online death threats and accusations by religious authorities that he is insulting Islam.”
Radio Netherlands Worldwide: “Malaysia’s law minister on Wednesday shot down calls to ban underage marriage, despite an uproar over the recent wedding of a 14-year-old Muslim school girl.”
The Straits Times: “Malaysia’s top court on Friday sidestepped a ruling on whether children can be converted to Islam by one parent, a lawyer said, in a case closely watched by the nation’s non-Muslim minorities.”
CBN: “A two-hour journey from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur revealed an isolated encampment where some Christian converts say they’ve been taken in order to be forced back to Islam.” (includes video)
Businessweek: “The High Court struck out an application by the Malaysian Assembly of Muslim Youths, which demanded that Sisters in Islam change its name because it was allegedly misleading people to believe that the group speaks for all Muslims, said Ratna Osman, program manager of the women’s group.”
Bernama: “Stern action will be taken against individuals or political parties which raise sensitive religious and racial issues when campaigning in the upcoming Batu Sapi parliamentary seat by-election.”
EducationNews.org: “Islamic leaders led by grand mufti Mustafa Cerić are working closely with the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) to establish an Islamic university. A close partner of Malaysia’s IIUM, the IIIT is a US-based non-profit organisation working towards Islamising ‘secular’ spheres. It was first set up with seed funding from the Muslim Brotherhood. The Islamisation project of Bosnia’s new elite trained in Malaysia may complicate social harmony and its entry into the EU.”
Associated Press: “Malaysia’s prime minister called Monday for creation of a ‘global movement of moderates’ from all faiths to marginalize extremists from all religions.”
The Canadian Press: “A Malaysian court has awarded damages to indigenous villagers after ruling that authorities unlawfully demolished their Christian chapel, their lawyer said Thursday . . . The High Court ruled Wednesday that authorities had trespassed on their land and failed to honour a pledge made in 2001 to list the site as customary native land, lawyer Steven Thiru said. It awarded damages to the 51 villagers, with the amount to be decided later.”
Gulf Times: “Malaysia, the world’s largest market for sukuk, plans to improve its legal system to become an alternative location to the UK for resolving international Islamic finance disputes.”
AFP: “Homosexuality remains a social taboo across the racial and religious spectrum in Malaysia, a conservative country which is also home to large ethnic Chinese and Indian communities . . . there is a growing sense of activism among the gay community which is beginning to mobilise to fight for its rights.”
San Francisco Chronicle: “Barclays Capital, the investment banking arm of London-based Barclays Plc, is offering Shariah-compliant repurchase agreements to allow Islamic banks and investors manage their funds. Barclays introduced the product worldwide two weeks ago and is focusing on clients in Malaysia and the Middle East, where the largest Islamic financial institutions are based, Harris Irfan, the bank’s Dubai-based head of Islamic finance products, said in an interview.”