Government Investigating Members in Facebook Group
Malaysia’s deputy minister stated on Monday, August 7, that the Malaysian government is investigating an international atheist organization after a picture of the group’s chapter went viral. The picture depicted the group meeting in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur.
Earlier in the month, the international Canada-based atheist organization, Atheist Republic, posted a picture on Facebook of the Atheist Republic Consulate of Kuala Lumpur’s annual meeting.
The photo’s caption stated the meeting was “such a blast!”, and featured a room full of smiling men and women. However, this photo was quickly met with serious backlash from the Malaysian government, who is currently investigating the potential Muslim apostates, or defectors, depicted.
While Malaysia, a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, does not expressly list apostasy as a federal crime, Malaysian states have their own laws governing Islamic affairs. These states do not allow Malaysian Muslims to renounce Islam – rather, these states have been known to send apostates for counseling, or fine or jail them.
As such, Malaysia’s deputy minister, Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, who is responsible for religious affairs, stated on Monday at a press conference at Parliament that “the [Malaysian Federal Constitution] does not mention atheists. It goes against the Constitution and human rights”.