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Nurul Izzah backs religious freedom for all

 | November 3, 2012

PKR's rising star Nurul Izzah Anwar offered her conditional support of the LGBT and is for a non-compulsory religious practice.

SUBANG JAYA: Freedom of religion should be applied equally to everyone in the country including the Malays, said PKR vice president Nurul Izzah Anwar.

Pressing home the message of religious freedom at a forum titled “Islamic state? Which vision? Whose responsibility” today, she said there should be no compulsion in any religion including Islam.

“How can anyone say (freedom of religion) only apply to the non-Muslim, it has to be applied equally.

“In Quran, there is no specific term to the Malay as how it should be done,” she said when replying to an audience’s question on whether Malays should be entitled to freedom of religion.

Nurul Izzah’s remark is expected to stir controversy as Malay Muslims in Malaysia are banned from converting out from Islam except under unique circumstances and discussion of the subject is seen as taboo.

However, the PKR rising star said it is fine for Malays to be granted such freedom as the ties between a believer and certain religion was based on personal faith.

“If you believe so strongly in your faith, then being schooled in (SK) Assunta with a big cross in the hall and singing Catholic songs all the time would not deter you,” she said.

Earlier in her speech, Nurul Izzah quoted a decree made by Egypt’s University Al-Azhar president Ahmad el Tayeb and said freedom of belief should be a fundamental right for all.

“Freedom of belief is based on complete equality and rights and duty. It should be regarded as cornerstone of modern social structure.

She said the freedom should be guaranteed by the authentic conclusive religious text and clear constitutional principle.

“Any aspect of compulsion, persecution or discrimination on the basis of religion is prohibited. Everybody in society should have the right to the idea he chooses,” she said.

However she added that she supports the prevailing Islamic views.

“Once a Muslim, you are tied to Syariat Islam, as any citizen is tied to the Federal Constitution,” she said

Meanwhile, when replying to a question on sexual minority group such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT), she expressed conditional support in a similar fashion to her father, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

She said the group should not be victimised by laws but they should avoid displaying their sexual orientation in public space.


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