The Politics of Religious Expression in Malaysia

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About the Publication

Religious freedom of expression remains a contentious issue in Malaysia. Even liberal proponents of freedom of speech are divided as to whether or not religious expression is part of constitutionally protected rights. What the Malaysian Constitution offers is freedom of speech including the right to religious expression. At the same time it proclaims Islam to be the official religion of the Federation. Malaysia is a multi-religious country prone to inter- and intra-group controversies, and as a rule, the government favours preventive and restrictive measures in order to elude religious strife and hate speech. The concept of freedom of religion in Malaysia is different from that in the West. Religious expression in Malaysia has been a highly contentious issue ever since the 1980s when then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad embarked on his 'Islamization policies' project. This paper examines recent cases of blasphemy, hate speech and the contentious 'Allah' issue. The government, on one hand, tries to maintain political stability and racial harmony in Malaysia but on the other attempts to maintain the status-quo especially with regards to declaring Malaysia an 'Islamic state' and imposing Islamization policies.

Contents

The Politics of Religious Expression in Malaysia [Whole Publication], by Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani , author

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