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ICC Note: An end of discussions on inter-faith issues does not mean that the problem is solved, as Muslims who convert to Christianity continue to be persecuted for their beliefs. If Article 11 in the Malaysian constitution upholds religious freedom, then action must be taken to actually protect the beliefs of non-Muslims.

Malaysian PM wants an end to inter-faith discussions because they cause tensions

Badawi speaks about the concerns of his party, which has always favoured pro-Islam policies. Recent multi-faith forums had raised questions about problems relating to conversions to Islam.

AsiaNews (7/26/06) – Malaysia ’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has called for an end to discussions on inter-faith issues because they are causing tensions in his multi-confessional society. This comes only two days after the prime minister himself during a visit to Indonesia praised Malaysia ’s religious tolerance and the protection it gives minorities against discrimination.

Mr Badawi yesterday came out against Article 11, a multi-faith umbrella organisation that includes 13 NGOs that has organised forums in defence of the existing federal constitution against creeping Islamisation. The prime minister has instead called for an immediate end to its activities because they “cause tensions in our society where different faiths live together”.

He said that the Supreme Council of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Malaysia ’s ruling party, was concerned about the issues raised by Article 11 such as conversions to Islam and the problems it creates for non Muslim families.

For quite some time UMNO has instead pursued policies designed to protect the prerogatives of Islam and majority Malays.

Mr Badawi, who is UMNO’s president, said that “if the discussions are not kept in check or contained, they are bound to raise tension in our multi-religious society. Religious issues are even more sensitive than ethnic issues”. For this reason he said the government is urging all parties concerned to end discussions on the formation of the inter-faith commission (IFC)…[Go To Full Story]