Malaysia under spotlight in freedom of thought index after atheist ‘hunt’

Source: Malay Mail Online

Reuters pic

In this year’s Freedom of Thought Report by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), Malaysia was given a score of 4.5, with 5 being the worst possible score. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Malaysia has been singled out and listed among seven countries worldwide that practise “active persecution” of the non-religious in a global index released Tuesday, following a so-called “hunt” against atheists starting earlier this year.

In this year’s Freedom of Thought Report by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), Malaysia was given a score of 4.5, with 5 being the worst possible score.

“Through publication of this report, the IHEU issues a warning: that in at least seven countries the non-religious were actively persecuted in new or evolving major incidents or trends in 2017.

“We record new waves of incitement to hatred or violence in at least Malaysia, Mauritania and Pakistan,” IHEU director of communications Bob Churchill wrote in his editorial introduction to the report.

Malaysia had scored 4 for the categories of “Constitution and government” and “Education and children’s rights”, but 5 for “Family, community, society” and “Freedom of expression, humanist values”. Read more

Brunei, M’sia, Indonesia rated region’s worst violators of rights, religious freedom

Source: Asian Correspondent

An officer canes a woman who violated strict Syariah laws forbidding contact between unmarried men and women Banda Aceh. Pic: AP

An officer canes a woman who violated strict Syariah laws forbidding contact between unmarried men and women Banda Aceh. Pic: AP

MUSLIM-MAJORITY Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia have been listed as the region’s worst freedom of thought defenders in a 2016 report released by the International Humanist Ethical Union (IHEU).

The Freedom of Thought Report published on Tuesday rated the three as countries where “grave violations” of rights and the treatment of the non-religious occur. “Grave violations” is the last on a list of five categories, and is the worst rating to be given to the countries surveyed. The other categories are “free and equal”, followed by “mostly equal”; “systemic discrimination”; and “severe discrimination”.

The report noted that both Brunei and Malaysia have threatened the death sentence for apostasy, while Indonesia enforces lengthy prison terms for those convicted of “criticising” religion. Read more

Malaysia joins Indonesia, Brunei as worst regional freedom of thought offenders in 2016

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Malaysia joins Muslim-majority neighbours Indonesia and Brunei, which were similarly ranked as the worst freedom of thought offenders in the Southeast Asian region. — AFP pic

Malaysia joins Muslim-majority neighbours Indonesia and Brunei, which were similarly ranked as the worst freedom of thought offenders in the Southeast Asian region. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 ― Malaysia has been rated as “grave violators” of the rights and treatment of the non-religious in this year’s Freedom of Thought Report by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU).

The country joins Muslim-majority neighbours Indonesia and Brunei, which were similarly ranked as the worst offenders in the Southeast Asian region.

“Malaysia rates very badly for freedom of thought and expression, with ethnic Malays subjected to strict state controls over an enforced, homogenous religious identity, including mandatory Shariah laws, and in two states hudud enactments mandating death for ‘apostasy’,” said the report published this week.

In March 2015, Kelantan passed the amendment to its so-called hudud law, the Syariah Criminal Code (II) Enactment (Kelantan) 1993 which prescribed jail for an apostate to repent, and execution if repentance is impossible.

Terengganu has a similar law passed in 2002: the Syariah Criminal Offences (Hudud and Qisas) Enactment.

At the moment, Shariah courts cannot impose death penalty due to the limitations of sentences it can mete out in the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965, the law which Islamist party PAS and the ruling party Umno are aiming to amend.

Malaysia was given a score of 4 for the “constitution and government” and “education and children’s rights” categories, and 5 for “family, community, society, religious courts and tribunals” and “freedom of expression advocacy of humanist values”. Read more

Malaysia’s free thought, religious expression under ‘serious assault’, study shows

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Visit freethoughtreport.com/map to get the hi-res download or use the interactive map – image taken from IHEU website

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 21 ― Freedom of thought, religious expression and dissent in Malaysia are facing “grave violations”, according to the latest global study by the the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU).

The group’s annual Freedom of Thought Report 2015 released earlier this month noted the “serious assaults” to Malaysia’s freedoms of expression, in particular those concerning religious views.

“This country is found to be declining, with human rights including freedom of thought and expression under serious assault… ‘blasphemy’ is outlawed or criticism of religion is restricted and punishable with a prison sentence,” the report said. Read more

Malaysia among nations least tolerant of atheists and freethinkers, says report

Source: The Malay Mail Online

GENEVA, Dec 10 — Amid a global decline in religious belief, some governments are stepping up efforts to portray atheists and secularists as a danger to society and even as terrorists, according to a report issued today.

The study, by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), pointed to “hate campaigns” launched by public figures against those who renounce the dominant or state religion in Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Egypt.

It said “the overwhelming majority of countries fail to respect the rights of atheists and freethinkers” as set out in UN treaties, adding that 13 states, all of them Muslim, had made apostasy or blasphemy against religion a capital offence. Read more