When a 15-year-old Malaysian girl voiced her dream of becoming the country’s first female prime minister on Twitter earlier this year, she was roundly abused online for not donning the hijab. Surekha Ragavan asks if Malay Muslim women encounter more rage on social media.
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 — Atheists in Malaysia should be “hunted down” by authorities as there is no place for groups like this under the Federal Constitution, a minister said today.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the public should aid authorities in locating groups like the Kuala Lumpur chapter of Atheist Republic so that action could be taken.
“The (Federal Constitution) does not mention atheists. It goes against the Constitution and human rights.
“I suggest that we hunt them down vehemently and we ask for help to identify these groups,” he said in a press conference at Parliament today.
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia is investigating an international atheist organization, a minister said on Monday, after a picture of the group’s local chapter went viral, sparking claims that Muslim apostates were involved.
Apostasy is not a federal crime in Malaysia, a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country. But critics say deepening fundamentalism within the Muslim majority is threatening religious freedoms.
Malaysian states, which have their own laws governing Islamic affairs, do not allow Muslims to formally renounce Islam, preferring instead to send them for counseling, or fining or jailing them.
The Kuala Lumpur chapter of Atheist Republic, a Canada-based organization, posted a picture of the group’s members attending a gathering last week, sparking uproar among some Muslims and leading to threats of death and violence against the group on social media.
The owner pointed out that his restaurants suffered losses because Malaysia has a Muslim-majority population that doesn’t consume pork. Incidentally, pork is the main ingredient in dim sum and dumpling dishes. He further stated that having a Chinese restaurant in Malaysia is like “operating a sauna business in a remote desert.”
KUALA LUMPUR: An American expert on terrorism said he was baffled by Malaysia’s decision to work closely with Saudi Arabia in promoting moderation and countering terrorism through the establishment of a new centre in Putrajaya.
Zachary Abuza, a professor at the National War College in Washington and an expert on Southeast Asian conflicts, said he failed to understand why Prime Minister Najib Razak is partnering with Riyadh, which is known for its spread of Wahhabism which he described as an “intolerant version of Islam”.
“Saudis have been spreading Wahhabism throughout the world, especially Southeast Asia, from a more tolerant brand of Shafi’ite Islam to a more austere version,” said Abuza in an interview with FMT.
“To reach out to Saudis to form a centre of moderate Islam is a joke. Nothing moderate about Saudi Arabia,” said the professor, who has done extensive research on terror-related activities as well as the conflicts in southern Thailand and southern Philippines.
“They said ‘surrender the Christians’,” said Faridah P. Ali, an assistant director of the regional prison authority. “We only had one Christian staff member so we put him with the inmates so he wouldn’t be noticed,” he said.
Fighters from the Maute group, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS), menaced the guards and shouted at prisoners: but no one gave up the Christian man. “When they freed the inmates, he got free,” said Ali.
It was a brief moment of cheer, but over the next few hours the militants took control of most of the city, attacked the police station and stole weapons and ammunition, and set up roadblocks and positioned snipers on buildings at key approaches. The assault has already led to the death of almost 180 people and the vast majority of Marawi’s population of about 200,000 has fled.
The seizing of the city by Maute and its allies on the island of Mindanao is the biggest warning yet that the Islamic State is building a base in Southeast Asia and bringing the brutal tactics seen in Iraq and Syria in recent years to the region.
Defense and other government officials from within the region told Reuters evidence is mounting that this was a sophisticated plot to bring forces from different groups who support the Islamic State together to take control of Marawi.
The presence of foreigners – intelligence sources say the fighters have included militants from as far away as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Chechnya and Morocco – alongside locals in Marawi, has particularly alarmed security officials.
For some time, governments in Southeast Asia have been worried about what happens when battle-hardened Islamic State fighters from their countries return home as the group loses ground in the Middle East, and now they have added concerns about the region becoming a magnet for foreign jihadis.
“If we do nothing, they get a foothold in this region,” said Hishammuddin Hussein, the defence minister of neighboring Malaysia.
LOS ANGELES heavy metal band Megadeth agreed to cut songs that were potentially “offensive” to Muslims after the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) Youth group voiced its objection to them touring the country.
Tweeting on Thursday before the band’s show, frontman Dave Mustaine responded to a fan informing him there would be no PAS Youth protest: “Thank you. If there is a song that offends Malaysians or their faith, please tell me. I wish to offend no one here. We cut songs for China.”
Kim Jong Nam, 45, was killed on Feb. 13 at a crowded Kuala Lumpur airport in an attack with VX nerve agent, which is considered a weapon of mass destruction.
Seoul has said from the start that the isolated North is behind the Cold War-style assassination.
South Korean and Japanese media, citing diplomatic sources, have reported that the U.S. has been mulling placing the North back on its terrorism list, which includes Iran and Syria.
“The U.S. will keenly realize how dearly it has to pay for its groundless accusations against the dignified” North if it re-lists it, the regime’s foreign ministry spokesman told the state-run news agency, KCNA.
The spokesman maintained that Pyongyang opposes “all forms of terrorism” and accused the U.S. of trying to tarnish its reputation.
Malaysia said it expelled North Korea’s ambassador on Saturday for refusing to apologize for his strong accusations over Malaysia’s handling of the investigation into the killing of the North Korean leader’s half brother.
Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said a notice was sent to the North Korean Embassy at around 6 p.m. declaring Ambassador Kang Chol persona non grata. The notice said Kang must leave Malaysia within 48 hours.
Earlier in the week, Malaysia demanded that North Korea formally apologize for Kang’s accusations over the investigation into the Feb. 13 killing of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur’s airport, including that “the Malaysian government had something to hide and that Malaysia has colluded with outside powers to defame” North Korea, Anifah said in a statement.
He said that no apology had come and none appeared forthcoming, and that North Korean Embassy officials also failed to turn up for a meeting Saturday at the foreign ministry, so Malaysia decided to expel the ambassador.
The banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent was used to kill Kim Jong Nam, the North Korean ruler’s outcast half brother who was attacked by two women who rubbed the substance on his face at the airport in Malaysia’s capital last week, police said Friday.
The Prime Minister of Malaysia has shown support for the expansion of Sharia law in Malaysia. Prime Minister Najib Razak has been embroiled in controversy over a scandal involving a development bank in Malaysia and has struggled to maintain support. Before a meeting with Najib’s political party, he stated it was their responsibility to push for the adoption of the expanded law, which prescribes punishments such as stoning and amputation. He said in an interview, “Non-Muslims must understand that this is not about hudud but about empowering the sharia courts.” Given broad discontent over the performance of Malaysia’s economy, many feel this move is an attempt to tap into pro-Muslim sentiment for more support.
“…Wahhabi doctrines spread by Saudi-financed imams are redefining the way Islam is practiced in Malaysia. Politicians are now competing with each other to show off their Islamist credentials. These practices are eroding the tolerance for which the country was previously known.”
Related… Malaysia arrests 3 IS militants suspected of planning terror attacks
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian police announced on Wednesday (Aug 31) they have arrested three suspected Islamic State (ISIS) militants who were planning attacks on entertainment outlets, police stations and the Hindu temple at Batu Caves.
The trio were allegedly planning to launch these attacks with grenades and firearms on Tuesday evening, the eve of Malaysia’s National Day.
Pic – Malaysians protest “Innocence Of Muslims” film.