State govts enable discrimination, moral policing, says religious group

State govts enable discrimination, moral policing, says religious group

State govts enable discrimination, moral policing, says religious group

PETALING JAYA: A religious group laments that “state-sponsored discrimination” against ethnic minorities of different faiths through laws and fatwas, or religious edicts, is facilitating intolerance.

Giving examples of how this intolerance was affecting the Muslim community, Hisham Muhaimi of Komuniti Muslim Universal said state governments had enabled the rise of vigilante groups to police Muslims.

He cited Skuad Badar, which operated in Sungai Petani, Kedah, as a prime example.

Skuad Badar refers to an anti-vice group in Sungai Petani that would raid budget hotels and target couples for allegedly commiting khalwat (close proximity).

“State governments, such as in Kedah, have created an enabling environment for intolerance to thrive.

“This has opened the doors for moral vigilante groups to police people when they have no right or authority to do so,” he said at the launch of Sisters in Islam (SIS) and Merdeka Center’s survey on Malaysian Muslim youth.

Hisham also cited PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s decree in 2018 as a “dangerous” example of misusing religion.

Four years ago, Hadi said it was compulsory for Muslims to oppose and openly protest the ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Hisham said Malaysia must revamp its education system to teach youth about the constitution as well as the ethnic and religious rights enshrined in it. This, he added, was essential to ensure religious and ethnic harmony and tolerance within society.

He said that while the country prided itself on multiculturalism, it only celebrated the food and festivities of the different ethnicities but continued to shy away from the real issues or conflicts between the various cultures.

Hisham was commenting on the Malaysian Muslim youth survey conducted by Merdeka Center and SIS, which found, among other things, that 81% of the 1,216 respondents believed that Islam should be a priority in matters of public life.

The survey of Muslim youths nationwide aged 15 to 25 was conducted between late October 2021 and January 2022.

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State govts enable discrimination, moral policing, says religious group

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