Muslim group seeks blasphemy charge against Indonesian newspaper

According to UCA News, an Indonesian Muslim group filed a complaint yesterday against an English-language newspaper which it has accused of blasphemy for an editorial cartoon in its July 3 print edition.

The Jakarta Post cartoon criticized the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has reportedly committed executions and other acts of violence in Iraq. The cartoon's phrase "La ilaha illallaah" (there is no God but God) was presented on a flag with a skull, which is typically identified with pirates.

Read more...

China’s Ambiguous Atheism

WRITTEN BY MICKEY KEENAN AND MARK KOLSEN, GUEST WRITERS OF AAI NEWS TEAM

In a country that suppresses all forms of religious discussion, “scientific” studies about religion in China are almost impossible to conduct. The internet does, however, permit some measurement of Chinese religious sentiment, though even on the net Chinese citizens may be reluctant to speak openly.

What follows is one recent non-scientific study conducted by a courageous Chinese citizen who also interviewed several local experts on the subject. Her findings seem consistent with available sources on the subject.

Read more...

Malaysia: NUCC defends protection for atheists and Muslims alike in proposed new law

The National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) today hit back at criticism made by a coalition of Malay groups that its proposed anti-discrimination law recognises atheism and contravenes the Rukun Negara principle of belief in God.

According to The Malay Mail Online, NUCC’s law and policy committee member Mohd Zharif Badrul said the interpretation of religious beliefs in Section 4 of The Racial and Religious Hate Crimes Bill should be read with Section 5 and 6 which criminalises hate crime based on religion.

Read more...

Malaysian Court Reserves Word 'Allah' for Muslims

Malaysia's Top Court Dismissed Catholic Church's Request on Use of 'Allah'

According to The Wall Street Journal, Malaysia's top court on Monday dismissed the Roman Catholic Church's request that it be allowed to appeal a ruling barring it from using "Allah" to refer to the Christian God in its newspaper.

The high-stakes case, which dates back seven years, has provoked strong feelings in the Muslim-majority country at a time when advocates of conservative Islam have been growing in influence.

The Catholic Church first brought a case in 2008 to try to overturn a determination by Malaysia's then-home minister, Syed Hamid Albar, the year before that prohibited the Herald newspaper from using the word "Allah" to refer to the Christian God and argued it should be used solely by Muslims.

Read more...

Public Schools in Indonesia Feel Islamic Pressure

By YENNI KWOK

When Lies Marcoes heard that her daughter’s high school, in Bogor, Indonesia, required all female Muslim students to wear a head veil once a week, she was furious. Although she herself was a Muslim and a graduate of an Islamic university in Jakarta, she went to the school to object to the imposition of the religious uniform in a state school.

As a result of her protest, she said, the order was rescinded — though her teenage daughter decided to wear the head scarf anyway to fit in with her friends.

According to NY Times, about 400 kilometers away, in central Java, another parent, Tri Agus Susanto Siswowiharjo, says he would like to send his daughters to a public secondary school, but he, too, is worried that they would have to wear Islamic dress.

Read more...