200 Malaysians Face Charges for Deviating From Islam

Leading scholar slams country's 'Talibanization'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2010 8:54 AM CST
200 Malaysians Face Charges for Deviating From Islam
A Malaysian Muslim walks inside a mosque before Friday prayers in downtown Kuala Lumpur. Sunni Muslims make up roughly 60% of the country's population.   (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism are accepted in Muslim-majority Malaysia, but the government has stepped up efforts to quash non-Sunni strains of Islam. More than 200 Shia Muslims have been arrested in a swoop on outlawed Islamic sects, and they are likely to be charged with "following the teachings of a deviationist movement," which carries a penalty of up to two years in jail, AP reports.

Authorities say the Shia doctrine—which permits the killing of Muslims from other sects who are regarded as infidels—is a threat to national security, but some Islamic scholars aren't happy with the crackdown. "Malaysia is trying to become a country a la Taliban that only allows one school of thought," a prominent Muslim scholar said. "Even though I personally don't agree with Shia teachings and even frequently criticize and debate with them, I cannot accept the approach of the allegedly democratic Malaysian government in denying the people's right to practice their faith." (Read more Malaysia stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.