Minister violating human rights by ‘hunting’ atheists, says humanist group

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — Criminalising apostasy contradicts the right to freedom of thought and belief, an international humanist group said amid a government crackdown on Malaysian atheists.

International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) president Andrew Copson also said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim was “absolutely wrong” in claiming that atheism violated human rights.

“Non-religious people have freedom of thought, freedom of expression and freedom of association, just like the religious, and it is his talk of ‘hunting’ human beings simply for joining together in celebration of their views and values which represents a grave human rights violation,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Shahidan claimed yesterday that atheism was unconstitutional because it was not mentioned in the Federal Constitution and suggested that “we hunt them down vehemently”.

Deputy minister in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki has said the religious authorities will investigate the Kuala Lumpur chapter of international non-profit group Atheist Republic, after a photo of its gathering caused uproar among some Muslims online. 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