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AsiaNews (03/23/06) – Non-Muslims in Malaysia who criticize Islam risk imprisonment or heavy fines through enforcement of the country’s anti-sedition law. This warning was announced by Justice Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, and is part of a statement made yesterday to The Star newspaper, in reply to various articles which appeared in national media on new family legislation and which were “perceived as attacking the religion.” Passed last year, new family legislation allows, among other things, polygamy for Muslims and affirms the right of husbands to claim property in case of divorce.

Critics of the new legislation include Nori, daughter, of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, who spoke of “injustice against women, in the name of Islam,” and Marina, daughter of former p.m. Mahathir Mohamad. Minister Aziz defended the law saying that the anti-sedition law “can be applied in such cases.” “We will not think twice about using this law,” he stressed, “against anybody who speaks against Islam.” He added that he was very concerned over articles about Islam by non-Muslims: “There is a limit to what can be said in a Muslim-majority country”.

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