PUTRAJAYA: More than 60 NGOs presented a memorandum to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob today demanding that he address the issue of certain Islamic preachers who have been “insulting and denigrating” other faiths.
The NGOs, under the Global Human Rights Federation (GHRF), had previously lodged numerous police reports against certain Islamic preachers who have been “attacking non-Islamic faiths and beliefs” in the public domain and through social media by “mocking, misinterpreting and misquoting” the holy books of other religions.
They also called on the Islamic development department (Jakim), the national unity ministry, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) and the Attorney-General’s Chambers to take action against these preachers, saying their cries had fallen on deaf ears.
“We would like to highlight to the prime minister that these preachers are a threat to the peaceful co-existence of Malaysia’s multiracial, multireligious and multicultural society,” said GHRF president S Shashi Kumar.
“Despite numerous police reports made against them, and the matter having been highlighted by media reports which are definitely known to the prime minister and the government, no proactive measures have been taken to reprimand these preachers to date.”
He said the preachers had violated Articles 3, 5 and 11 of the Federal Constitution, which relate to liberty and freedom of religion.
Representatives from GHRF handed the memorandum to a special officer at the Prime Minister’s Department calling on Ismail to also act “impartially and without fear or favour” against unilateral conversions, which the Federal Court had ruled unlawful.
Shashi said that in light of the numerous cases of children being converted to Islam without the knowledge of both parents, GHRF wanted to see the formation of an independent body to manage and administer conversions.
“The prime minister and his administration should take serious measures to implement strict laws and guidelines with regards to non-Muslims who decide to embrace and profess Islam,” he said.
He said the federation also hoped to bring their concerns to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, and the Malay rulers next as “we can’t trust politicians”.
A member of the delegation, representing a Sarawakian NGO, said he wanted to see all Malaysians treated equally.
“If a non-Muslim insults Islam, I think they would be picked up in less than two hours,” said Kindy Nyadang, a committee member from Persatuan Terabai Menua.
“The law has to be fair, regardless of your race or religion.”
In a separate memorandum, GHRF urged Ismail to allow further Employees Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawals for those struggling to make ends meet.