Malaysia Voted the Eighth Worst Government in Curbing Religion

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The findings, which cover 2013, put Malaysia at the eighth spot in the “very high” category among countries known for state interference or curbs on religion.

Topping the list was China, followed by Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Iran, Egypt and Afghanistan.

Malaysia was ranked just a spot lower than Saudi Arabia, while neighbouring Brunei and Singapore were placed at the 15th and 18th spots, respectively.

Malaysia increased its score on restrictions imposed by the state, climbing to 7.9 out of 10 in 2013, from 7.6 the year before.

Compared with six years ago, in June 2007, which was used as a baseline, Malaysia scored 6.4 in terms of government restrictions.

These restrictions were defined as laws, policies and actions restricting religions, as well as measures such as bans on changing one’s religion and preferential treatment accorded to a particular religious group in that country.

The Pew study also measured religious oppression in terms of social hostilities, which covered a range of actions against believers of another religion including vandalism of religious property, desecration of sacred books and violence.

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