Ethnic and religious discrimination big challenge for Malaysia's minor

santosh10

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Ethnic and religious discrimination big challenge for Malaysia's minorities
25 May 2011, By Farah Mihlar

Minority Rights Group International : Comment & analysis : Ethnic and religious discrimination big challenge for Malaysia's minorities

Malaysia prides itself on being a multi-cultural Muslim country. Its majority population are Malays in ethnicity who follow the Islamic religion. Some eight percent are Indians and about 40 percent Chinese. These ethnic groups profess different religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Sikhism, and Christianity. The country also has a significant indigenous population known as Orang Asli.

While most of these communities live peacefully in Malaysia and are able to develop their lives and enjoy their rights, there remain a host of serious issues affecting minorities. These are human rights violations affecting people because of both their ethnic and religious identities.

During a recent visit to Kuala Lumpur the MCCBCHST (Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism) helped organise interviews with religious leaders and activists, who discussed some of the main issues affecting minorities.

When Malaysia's economy took off in the 80's, leading the way as one of South East Asia's tiger economies, the country also brought in several policies privileging the majority community. Popularly known as 'Bumiputera' or 'son of the soil' these policies favour the Malay community over others

Activists explained that the policies are not always blatantly discriminatory, but they can be very subtle and impact every area of life including citizenship.

'Though on paper citizenship is available for everyone, non-Malays seem to take a longer time to get citizenship', says Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips, of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM).

If you are Muslim immigrant you are more easily able to get citizenship than if you are not. Spouses of non-Muslim Malaysians who come from other countries find particularly frustrating to get citizenship.

'Malay' as an ethnicity is intrinsically linked to Islam, together with other criteria such as adhering to Malay culture (which arguably minorities also do) and having a Malay grandparent. The main defining factor is religion.


Ethnic discrimination in education and employment

In education and in certain professions, Malays are favoured through quota systems. Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world where the ethnic majority community benefits from quotas.

'The Judiciary, the civil service and the Police do not reflect the racial composition of the nation,' Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips says.

Places in prestigious residential schools in Malaysia are offered only to Malay students, while across the country Malays are given a quota to enable them to have better access and to progress well to tertiary education.

'It is a deliberate policy of one race dominating public service and education. In other countries minorities get special rights, not here. It is very difficult for minorities to survive here,' says Sardar V. Harcharan Singh of the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC).

As religion is so closely connected to ethnicity and nationalism in Malaysia, discrimination is not just on racial grounds but on religious as well.

Non-Muslims face serious issues of discrimination simply because of their religious beliefs.

Minority Rights Group International : Comment & analysis : Ethnic and religious discrimination big challenge for Malaysia's minorities
 

santosh10

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Impact of Islamic law on non-Muslims

Conversion for a Muslim, for example, is a major problem in Malaysia. If a Muslim wants to renounce Islam, he or she has to go through a long and painful legal process. Different courts have adopted procedures including sending people to months of rehabilitation before allowing them to do so. There have also been cases where individuals have been charged with apostasy and face criminal charges.

Increasingly now the courts are referring cases to Islamic, Sharia courts, which have a strict religious interpretation of the law as compared to the secular interpretation in national level courts.

In May 2007 Malaysia's highest court ruled that Lina Joy, an ethnic Malay Muslim who wanted to convert to Christianity, should get permission from an Islamic court to be recognised a Christian, even though she had been practicing Christianity for 15 years.

'If you want to convert to Islam it is a matter of a few minutes and the authorities will even give you a financial allowance,' says Sardar V. Harcharan Singh of the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC)

The stringent laws on religious conversion involving Islam have a major impact in cases of inter-marriage. Muslims cannot marry non-Muslims in practice. Although there is an exception for Muslim men to marry 'Kitabiyah' (people of the book), the definition of a 'Kitabiyah' in Malaysia is almost impossible to prove (where for example a woman must prove she is Christian and her ancestors were Christian before the prophethood of Muhammad). A non-Muslim must therefore convert to Islam to marry a Muslim.

Muslims marry under Shariah law, while non-Muslims marry under common law. Another problem that has arisen is in cases where one spouse in a non-Muslim marriage converts to Islam. The Islamic religious officials argue that infant children in such a marriage are also automatically converted to Islam and the non-Muslim spouse loses his or her rights to guardianship and custody of the children. As under Muslim law a man can have up to four wives it is not uncommon for non-Muslim men to convert to Islam to be able to marry for a second time without divorcing their first wife. Although minority rights activists argue that such marriages are bigamous and contrary to the law, no prosecutions have ever been made.

According to information provided by MCCBCHST, in May, 2006, Saravanan Thangatoray, who had for some time been estranged from his wife Subashini, told her that he had converted to Islam. He told her she could have nothing more to do with her elder child, who was just three years old and took the child into his custody. Despite being married under civil law, Subashini's husband applied for a dissolution of their Hindu marriage in an Islamic court.

The High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court all refused Subashini a substantive injunction to stop the Islamic court proceedings. This effectively forced her to deal with the Islamic court even though she was not a Muslim. The Courts also held that the consent of only one parent was necessary to convert a child to Islam.

'The Constitution says Sharia court has jurisdiction only over people who profess Islam. Sharia court is under the law inferior to the High Court, but because of their religious role they make it in a way that they are higher,' Sardar Jagir Singh of the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) says.

In 2009 the government issued a policy statement against child conversions. This policy statement has not been translated into law, and in reality, minority rights activists say, infant children are still being unilaterally converted to Islam by only one parent without the other's consent or knowledge.

'How can religion claim exclusivity of words'

In the 80's legislation was passed banning the use by non-Muslims of several words considered Islamic. This included the reference to God commonly used by Muslims, which is 'Allah'. However, the equivalent word for God in the Malay language (which is also the official national language of the country) is also Allah.

In 2009, there were violent attacks on churches over the usage of the term 'Allah' after a High Court ruling that the Catholic Church could use the term in the Malay language version of their newsletter, distributed only to Catholics. Several Bibles published in the Malay language were seized by Malaysian customs authorities. Earlier in 2011, the Malaysian authorities announced that they would finally release the Bibles.

Because of the violence, the Catholic Church came to an agreement not to use the term until the appellate courts had dealt with the matter. However, the discriminatory effect of those laws affect other religions such as Sikhs, which also refers to God as 'Allah'. According to MCCBCHST there are at least 30 other countries in the world where the world Allah is used by both Christians and Muslims.

'How can any religion claim exclusivity of words? It is a freedom of expression issue,' says Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips.

Malaysia has also imposed restrictions on building places of worship. While a mosque can be built in any neighbourhood - Muslim or non-Muslim - any other religious place of worship can not be built within 100 meters of a Muslim neighbourhood. There are also other regulations such as; the place of worship cannot be above a certain height and cannot resemble a mosque. The latter rule again affects the Sikh community, which builds domes for their places of worship.

All across Malaysian towns and cities there are many non-Muslim places of religious worship that can be found. However, for new places of worship being built, activists say, the procedures and processes to build is getting tougher causing delays and resulting in some projects being abandoned.

Non-Muslim religious leaders in Malaysia are not asking for any special privileges or protection. They are simply asking not to be persecuted or discriminated against because of their religious and racial differences. What they ask for is not something new, it is what the founders of Malaysia envisioned when the country's Constitution was written.

Article 3(1) of the Constitution says that the religion of the Federation is Islam, but provides that 'other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.' Article 8 (1) provides for equality before the law for all persons. Article 11(1) gives every person the right to profess and practice his or her religion.

Religious leaders such as Fr. Phillips simply ask that these constitutional provisions be respected and upheld.

For pictures of religious leaders and activists who participated in the discussion see. Find pictures of Buddhist and Hindu places of religious worship here.


Religious leaders who participated in the discussion:

1) Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips - Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM)

2) Mr. Prematilaka KD Serisena - Sasana Abhiwurdhi Wardana Society (SAWS)

3) Sardar V. Harcharan Singh - Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC)

4) Daozhang Ng Chek - Federation of Taoist Associations Malaysia (FTAM)

5) Sardar Jagir Singh - Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC)

6) Venerable Ming Ji - Malaysian Buddhist Association (MBA)

7) Venerable Sing Kan - Malaysian Buddhist Association (MBA)

8) Ms. Sally Chee Lai Yan - Malaysian Buddhist Association (MBA)

9) Mr. SO. Paramsothi - Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS)

Minority Rights Group International : Comment & analysis : Ethnic and religious discrimination big challenge for Malaysia's minorities
 

santosh10

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Discrimination against non-Muslims in Malaysia

A revealing summary of how non-Muslims in supposedly moderate Malaysia still are denied equality of rights with Muslims. From Biography.ms, with thanks to Bamsterkins:

The constitution of Malaysia provides for freedom of religion, although Islam is the official religion. However, there exist certain laws and practices which in effect discriminate against non-Muslims in Malaysia....

In September 2001, the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad declared that the country was an Islamic state (negara Islam). The opposition leader at the time, Lim Kit Siang, is actively seeking support to declare Mahathir's move as unconstitutional by repeatedly clarifying that Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as its official religion as enshrined in the Constitution. However, the coalition government headed by Mahathir at the time held more than two-thirds of the seats in parliament. It requires a two-thirds majority vote for constitutional amendments in Malaysia. No proposed constitutional amendments by the Barisan Nasional government have ever failed to pass parliament since the Barisan Nasional came into power in 1957 until the time of the remarks.

Government funds support an Islamic religious establishment (the Government also grants limited funds to non-Islamic religious communities), and it is official policy to "infuse Islamic values" into the administration of the country.

The nation mantains two parallel justice systems in the country. One is the conventional justice system based upon laws gazetted by parliament. The other is syariah or Islamic law. Ostensibly syariah courts only have jurisdiction over persons who declare themselves to be Muslims. Consequently, this results in non-Muslims not having legal standing in syariah courts. Where decisions of the syariah court affect a non-Muslim, she can seek recourse in the secular courts who theoretically trump the syariah courts. However, this has often resulted in complications.

The rules of Syaria are set by the various sultans of the states. Historically a sultan had absolute authority over the state. Prior to independence Tunku Abdul Rahman got the sultans to cede authority to the federal government. One of the terms of this agreement is that the sultans still are the ultimate authority of Islamic law in their respective states.

Constitutionally, one of the four tests for being Malay in Malaysia is that one must be a Muslim. Therefore, all Malays are regarded to fall under Islamic law. The rationale for this is that Islam is considered intrinsic to Malay ethnic identity. :ranger:

Discrimination against non-Muslims in Malaysia - Jihad Watch
 

santosh10

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Re: Ethnic and religious discrimination big challenge for Malaysia's m

@Ray

Malaysia, the so called most modern Muslim country of world, where being a Malay has one of the test, "whether he/she is a Muslim or not."
 
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santosh10

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@DingDong

how do you compare secularism of India as compare to Muslim countries? once i made a post on the Pakistani Secularism as below, which states Xinjiang of China also. how would you make a comment on my posts? :ranger:


Pakistani Secularism

yesterday i read a news of Ms Hina Rabbani Khan while talking about secularism of Pakistan and while giving reference of raid of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, i discussed few questions as below:-

1st: is Pakistan a country who would be informed by the US's marine for the above operation? they just made a stealthy raid for the hunt of Osama Bin Laden. why? and its a common sense for the whole world....

2nd: Pakistan's foreign minister talks about secularism about the country, Pakistan, while is there any country of world who is surprised if OBL is found near Pakistani Military Camp? do you think someone from rest of the world would be surprised on this type of news, why OBL was found enjoying luxury life in a military town of Pakistan?

3rd: and if its informer was sent on life imprisonment for spying of OBL by the Pakistani Judiciary, is it something unusual where OBL was regarded as a God's man, message of Islam, while he was the most wanted terrorist for rest of the world? its a quite usual news while reading about the Blasphemy law in Pakistan, to target minorities there....
//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law_in_Pakistan

4th; minorities of Pakistan are almost gone, only Shia-Sunni-Ahmadi riots in Pakistan is in news now. on the other hand, population of Hindus in Bangladesh have been reduced from 30% in 1947 to below 10% at present, continuous attacks on the Buddhist+Hindus minorities there is also a news, very frequent.
while on the other hand, population of Hindus in India reduced from 88% in 1947 to below 80% at present, which does state about the "secularism" structure of India as whole, a 'non-religious' country....

5th: how many terrorist plots being planned in world, which aren't linked with Pakistan? i mean, is there any terrorist plots against any part of world, whether US or UK or even Xinjiang state of China, including India, which isn't linked with Pakistan? and here, are the people of world get surprised if we always find someone from Pakistan arrested for these plots?

6th; with these facts, only threats we find in India, for the way these two rogue neighbors have changed their way of practice. "Indian" Muzahidin like Azmal Kasab coming from Pakistan, with Hindu type Red Stings on hands, is now the biggest challenge imposed on India, the nation. how to tackle this type of 'Indian' Muzahidin Hindus coming from Pakistan+Bangladesh? while growing activities of Indian Muzahidin in North East region, because of the Bangladeshi infiltrators there, is also very frequent...


from here, why is it wrong if we talk to defend India from these two rogue neighbors of India? how would we allow these Islamic fanatic people in India, who will only try to do the same in India, which they have done in Pakistan+Bangladesh? why would there be any reason for destruction of India, the nation, whether its secularism of whatever?
@Ray

Abbottabad -- The military town where bin Laden hid in plain sight

CNN) -- One week ago, the chief of Pakistan's Army Staff, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, told graduating cadets in the city of Abbottabad that the "back of terrorism" in Pakistan had been broken, thanks to the sacrifices of Pakistan's soldiers.

Kayani was speaking at the "passing out parade" at the prestigious Kakul military academy in Abbottabad, the West Point of Pakistan. At that very moment, the man who had dragged Pakistan into the "War on Terror" a decade earlier was, it transpires, just a mile or two away, living in apparent comfort behind the high walls of a very private compound. Osama bin Laden, who had declared war on Pakistan, had apparently been living for months in a city that had made its name as a military garrison.

Abbottabad, pronounced AHB-tah-bahd, is some 60 miles by winding mountainous roads north of Pakistan's capital. Surrounded by green hills, it is renowned for its trees and parks. It's a popular retirement place for officers in the Pakistani army, partly because of its military academy, but also because of its agreeable climate. During British rule, the Imperial Gazeteer of India described it as "picturesquely situated," 4,120 feet above sea level.

Abbottabad sits on the Karakoram Highway, an engineering marvel that links Pakistan with China through the Himalayas. Before much of Pakistan became off-limits to most foreign tourists, it was also a popular spot for those on their way to and from the Swat valley and the foothills of the Himalayas.

//edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/05/02/bin.laden.abbottabad/
 
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Sameet Pattnaik

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Re: Ethnic and religious discrimination big challenge for Malaysia's m

islam is enemy of humanity and need to stop ! its fake religion of yehudi people !
 

santosh10

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Re: Ethnic and religious discrimination big challenge for Malaysia's m

You mean Jews created Islam??

hmmmm, we only know that Christian establishments use Jews against Muslims as an arm :ranger:

good people always keep few wrong people to get their work done by either way ......
 

santosh10

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you fool arabs copied the religion of yehudis !

they do have similarities, and also, mid ages was the time of illustrates only, who fought with whom and hence joined the first religion or the other side one in response :ranger:
 

santosh10

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Re: Ethnic and religious discrimination big challenge for Malaysia's m

double post
 

Ray

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Re: Ethnic and religious discrimination big challenge for Malaysia's m

Malaysia will remain Malaysia and Muslim psyche cannot change.
 

Ray

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You mean Jews created Islam??
Actually, if one reads the the scriptures of these religions, it is nothing but old wine packaged in a new bottle.
 

Srinivas_K

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Actually, if one reads the the scriptures of these religions, it is nothing but old wine packaged in a new bottle.
Mr @Ray there is difference between the main beliefs even though most of the scriptures are same to same.

Jews god Yehova can take human or any other form form, he wrestles with Jacob, son of Abraham in one of the stories. He also interacted with Moses directly. But Jews do not believe in Jesus as their Messiah. According to them Jesus do not fulfil the criteria of Jew Messiah. Yehova is in Heaven and angels help him to interact and some times he himself comes to interact with his creations. There is no GOD but Yehova according to Jews.

Christians believe in Yehova and also believe Jesus is the Messaih. Christians believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy spirit. Christians say the three are the forms of GOD and exists simultaneously. Jesus came down to earth as a human lived a human life, there are two angles in Jesus one is human and the other is divine. Human form is the projection of the divinity.

Muslims believe there is no God but Allah and Allah is genderless, formless. Allah interacts with humans through angles.

Contradictions:

1) Jews say Jesus is false Messiah.

2) Christians say Jesus is God and the Messiah,

3) Muslims say God is formless and it is insulting for God to take human form and eat and do daily activities like humans.
 
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santosh10

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Re: Ethnic and religious discrimination big challenge for Malaysia's m

Malaysia will remain Malaysia and Muslim psyche cannot change.

sir, the world is changing and we now need to learn from the happenings around us. its something a lesson for the Hindus and other minorities based in India, what exactly drive rest of the world towards religious fanaticism, and how much are we prepared to defend ourselves in future from the external world :ranger:
 

Ray

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Re: Ethnic and religious discrimination big challenge for Malaysia's m

Mr @Ray there is difference between the main beliefs even though most of the scriptures are same to same.

Jews god Yehova can take human or any other form form, he wrestles with Jacob, son of Abraham in one of the stories. He also interacted with Moses directly. But Jews do not believe in Jesus as their Messiah. According to them Jesus do not fulfil the criteria of Jew Messiah. Yehova is in Heaven and angels help him to interact and some times he himself comes to interact with his creations. There is no GOD but Yehova according to Jews.

Christians believe in Yehova and also believe Jesus is the Messaih. Christians believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy spirit. Christians say the three are the forms of GOD and exists simultaneously. Jesus came down to earth as a human lived a human life, there are two angles in Jesus one is human and the other is divine. Human form is the projection of the divinity.

Muslims believe there is no God but Allah and Allah is genderless, formless. Allah interacts with humans through angles.

Contradictions:

1) Jews say Jesus is false Messiah.

2) Christians say Jesus is God and the Messiah,

3) Muslims say God is formless and it is insulting for God to take human form and eat and do daily activities like humans.
When one present the same wine in a new bottle, it become essential to market it successfully.

That is why you have eye catching labels on the package such as 'NEW' or 'IMPROVED' so as to attract the customer and make him feel that is special. If it remains the same on use, it will lose its 'charm'. Therefore, there has to be cosmetic changes, like colour, smell, taste and so on.

Likewise, the Abrahamic religion are but old wine in a new bottle with cosmetic changes that makes it appear as 'different'.

One is a Son of God and the other is a Messenger of God. In other words, the same with a slight tweak!

The earlier religions will always complain and why not that their copyright and patent has been stolen, for after all, where are the converts coming from? From their folds and not from outer space (in fact, there is a controversial critique that the Star over Bethlehem was actually a spaceship bringing Jesus!)
 
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Ray

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Re: Ethnic and religious discrimination big challenge for Malaysia's m

sir, the world is changing and we now need to learn from the happenings around us. its something a lesson for the Hindus and other minorities based in India, what exactly drive rest of the world towards religious fanaticism, and how much are we prepared to defend ourselves in future from the external world :ranger:
The fear of losing the supremacy of numbers and hence the temporal power.

And in real terms, losing money to fund the fat cats of the religious order.
 

dastan

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Re: Ethnic and religious discrimination big challenge for Malaysia's m


1) Jews say Jesus is false Messiah.

2) Christians say Jesus is God and the Messiah,

3) Muslims say God is formless and it is insulting for God to take human form and eat and do daily activities like humans


.
An Sanathana Dharma says - 'tat tvam asi' - 'that art thou' - the divinity is within oneself

Take your pick ;)
 

Srinivas_K

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Re: Ethnic and religious discrimination big challenge for Malaysia's m

An Sanathana Dharma says - 'tat tvam asi' - 'that art thou' - the divinity is within oneself

Take your pick ;)
Sanatana Dharma is liberal, democratic and address all the issues in a correct way of logic and reasoning(philosophical).

Our GOD is Universal, liberal, democratic and also encourages to explore :thumb:

Our GOD also treats every one equally , salvation is for all anyone who follows Dharma the rules which he created along with the universe.
 
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