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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Unity Threatened by Continuing Infringements of Religious Freedom booklet

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) has launched a booklet entitled "Unity Threatened by Continuing Infringements of Religious Freedom" to raise public awareness on religious rights. This was announced by its deputy president Datuk A. Vaithilingam. Vaithilingam also said the council had sent a memorandum to the government through the National Unity Advisory Panel in October 2005, calling for each individual's freedom of religion under the constitution to be protected.

"In the memorandum, we had set out all these problems and urged the government to take legislative reforms to alleviate these concerns. Until today, no such reforms have been made," he said. Because of this, and also to encourage debate so we can all jointly seek solutions to these problems that the council decided to produce the booklet, he added.

The public can get a copy of the booklet, which includes the memorandum, at the council's headquarters at the Buddhist Maha Vihara in Brickfields and from the council's member associations. He said the booklet will also be sent to all members of parliament.

Update 27 July 2007: Got alerted to what hopefully is some good news. This is an extract from KL judge: Syariah court not for cases involving non-Muslims:

KL judge: Syariah court not for cases involving non-Muslims
Landmark ruling a step forward in the Malaysian legal system, say lawyers

By Reme Ahmad July 27, 2007

MALAYSIA'S highest court has held that disputes between a Muslim and a non-Muslim on family and religious matters should be settled in a civil court.

The landmark ruling by Federal Court Judge Abdul Hamid Mohamad means that such cases involving non-Muslims cannot be channelled to the Islamic Syariah Courts anymore.

The judge said that because non-Muslims could not initiate action or submit themselves to the Syariah Courts, the civil court was the correct forum for them.

'They can't be present to defend themselves in the Syariah Courts,' the Federal Court judge said, in a ruling that comes against a backdrop of controversy due to the overlapping jurisdiction of civil and syariah law.

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