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Old Nov 25th 2017, 9:19 am   #1
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Default No religion not allowed?

I was reading an article in The Star newspaper which troubled me. Posted on November 23rd, it has the title "Atheism is unconstitutional, says deputy minister".
https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nati...puty-minister/

I'm not sure how long this article will stay online. But the crux of the message by this deputy minister is:
Quote:
Atheism should not be allowed in Malaysia for any citizen as it contradicts both the Federal Constitution and the Rukunegara, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.
He said atheist ideologies were dangerous as they were being propagated to not only Muslims but to the non-Muslims in Malaysia.
“Atheism contradicts the first principle of the Rukunegara, which is a belief in God.
“We need to understand, that in the Malaysian context, our Federal Constitution states that freedom of religion is not freedom from religion.
“It is unconstitutional to say we can spread ideologies that incite people to leave a religion or profess no religion at all,” he said in reply to a question by Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (Amanah - Kota Raja) in Parliament on Thursday (Nov 23).
...
I was surprised to read that "freedom of religion" is explained to mean that you can support any religion you like, but are not allowed to choose to not support any religion at all. Maybe this seems obvious to all Malaysians, but for me, being a foreigner, is this surprising. I need to be careful what to say when religion is being discussed in this country.
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Old Nov 25th 2017, 12:34 pm   #2
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Default Re: No religion not allowed?

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Originally Posted by SushiFan View Post
I need to be careful what to say when religion is being discussed in this country.
Best not to discuss religion (or politics) in ANY country, IMHO

I think that if an atheist actually met God then he/she would instantly become a believer, so aren't atheists all agnostics at the end of the day?
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Old Nov 25th 2017, 5:08 pm   #3
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Default Re: No religion not allowed?

How about stating that you are a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster That should qualify as a religion.
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Old Nov 26th 2017, 8:29 am   #4
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Default Re: No religion not allowed?

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Originally Posted by InVinoVeritas View Post
Best not to discuss religion (or politics) in ANY country, IMHO
True, but sometimes you get dragged into a situation and there is no way out. Better be prepared for those cases.
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Old Nov 26th 2017, 8:30 am   #5
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Default Re: No religion not allowed?

Thanks @physdude, that should help.
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Old Nov 26th 2017, 11:56 am   #6
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Default Re: No religion not allowed?

When one lives as an expat in Muslim countries, the question about religion can come up quite frequently. Sometimes it is asked for in some form which needs to be filled in, sometimes people around you ask, mostly in a friendly way.
As per my experience it is best for those who do not consider themselves bound to any sect or belief to just broadly mention the prevailing belief in their respective home country. For example being from Sweden I just answer 'Lutheran'.

I have seen some people, mostly younger and inexperienced answer the question by stating that they don't believe in God or similar.
Apart from maybe being against the law, such a response is mostly not well received with loss of status, respect, friends, business opportunities etc as a result.

Regarding 'Spaghetti Monster' this may sound funny for an enlightened Westerner but I doubt that it will help any career or increase ones popularity in Malaysia.
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Old Nov 26th 2017, 7:37 pm   #7
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Default Re: No religion not allowed?

I find that enquiring about one's religion (and marital status/children, pay, etc.) is pretty widespread throughout Indonesia. Less so in Malaysia.

Not everyone appears to share the Minister's viewpoint.

Nothing in Constitution against atheism – Teo – BorneoPost Online | Borneo , Malaysia, Sarawak Daily News | Largest English Daily In Borneo
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Old Nov 26th 2017, 10:36 pm   #8
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Default Re: No religion not allowed?

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Originally Posted by RedApe View Post
I find that enquiring about one's religion (and marital status/children, pay, etc.) is pretty widespread throughout Indonesia. Less so in Malaysia.
It is true in Indonesia ....
The RI government recognises only six official religions (Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism).
I hope this Minister is put on the right path and not follow Indonesia. These people use religion for political gain...nothing to do with piety!
Witness the previous Governor of Jakarta Ahok...a good (Chinese-Christian) man who was cleaning up this shittiest of cities but the white-hatters used a blaspheme law to oust him and put in their man who has already gone backwards in corruption-cleansing.
Meanwhile, their self-proclaimed guru (Chairman of Islamic Defenders Front Habib Rizieq) is on the run for alleged pornography with an actress...he may be in Malaysia stirring more shit!

Isn't it odd that religion and corruption seem to make good bedfellows ...
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Old Nov 26th 2017, 10:52 pm   #9
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Default Re: No religion not allowed?

The statement about atheism being disallowed was made by a Deputy Minister, the response was made by an official in the Liberal Democrat Party...which I think is in the opposition

But some interesting relaxations of the acceptance by people of individual conscience rather than social coercion was demonstrated by the High Court in Sarawak about a year and a half ago.
High Court allows convert to renounce Islam – BorneoPost Online | Borneo , Malaysia, Sarawak Daily News | Largest English Daily In Borneo
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Old Nov 27th 2017, 6:23 am   #10
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Default Re: No religion not allowed?

Also bear in mind that GE14 is due next year and there is a lot of evidence in the press of p. maneuvering going on as happens in most countries. Not wishing to extend a discusion on politics but at least we don't have to put up with what is going on in UK, EU and USA. Slight change of subject - the Pan Borneo Highway is well under way in Sabah and they are even talking about trains for Sabah
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Old Nov 27th 2017, 6:43 am   #11
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Default Re: No religion not allowed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedApe View Post
I find that enquiring about one's religion (and marital status/children, pay, etc.) is pretty widespread throughout Indonesia. Less so in Malaysia.

Not everyone appears to share the Minister's viewpoint.

Nothing in Constitution against atheism – Teo – BorneoPost Online | Borneo , Malaysia, Sarawak Daily News | Largest English Daily In Borneo
That article was quite a surprise because my understanding is that having no faith can be a life or death matter around the world. In the thirteen countries, below you can be sentenced to death for atheism:

1. Afghanistan
2. Iran
3. Malaysia
4. Maldives
5. Mauritania
6. Nigeria
7. Pakistan
8. Qatar
9. Saudi Arabia
10. Somalia
11. Sudan
12. United Arab Emirates
13. Yemen
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Old Nov 27th 2017, 8:13 am   #12
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Default Re: No religion not allowed?

Thank you for sharing that article. I had on purpose waited a few days before posting the original article from The Star as I was curious what reactions it would generate. To my surprise were there no reactions at all reported in The Star.
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Old Nov 27th 2017, 5:09 pm   #13
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Default Re: No religion not allowed?

Perhaps the reactions were too volatile to print? I view that the print media in Malaysia is pretty careful to hew close to the party line and one has to read between the lines to get real information. I don't know how many times that I've read an article about some government Minister "responding" to "opposition claims" about X, Y or Z...but the paper has never printed the oppositions original claim or covered the event. So you only learn about the issue being raised by the counter-attack. It's sort of like how modern Biblical scholars learn what little they can about heretical non-Orthodox Christian groups via the writings of Orthodox clerics on the heretics and apostates.
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Old Nov 28th 2017, 8:19 am   #14
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Default Re: No religion not allowed?

@RedApe, yes I get the same impression as you about how the print media in Malaysia operates.
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Old Nov 28th 2017, 12:20 pm   #15
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Default Re: No religion not allowed?

Also, I must wonder what they would make of a religion based on the philosophy of this comic strip https://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/2010-05-22 .
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