FT: ‘Disaster’ looms amid rising religious intolerance in Malaysia, neighbours


(MM) – A steady growth of religious intolerance in Asian countries including Malaysia could turn into “disaster” for the region, a Financial Times (FT) columnist has warned.

David Pilling, a columnist for the influential UK paper, wrote of intolerance across the board ― against Muslims, non-Muslims and even atheists ― in Asia, even though some of the countries typically enjoy reputations as moderates.

He cited Malaysia as an example of yet another Asian country with “hardening ideology” but did not elaborate on the disaster this might cause.

Malaysia’s Federal Constitution guarantees freedom of religion despite Islam’s status as the “state religion” but there was official action preventing non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” to refer to God.

”Malaysian civil rights activists see this as part of a creeping Islamisation deliberately egged on by politicians seeking to shore up their electoral base,” he wrote on Wednesday in an opinion piece titled “March of intolerance threatens to trample on modern Asia”.

He referred to a Court of Appeal’s ruling last October which banned the Catholic weekly Herald from using the word “Allah” in its Malay language section.

He also cited the Home Ministry’s ban of a Malay-language translation of an Ultraman comic book over concern that its use of “Allah” could “confuse Muslim youth and damage their faith.”

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/ft-disaster-looms-amid-rising-religious-intolerance-in-malaysia-neighbours