Stop Legal Harassment of Christian Speaker of Malaysian State Assembly
The federal constitution of Malaysia states that "every person has the right to profess and practice his religion". And yet, in Selangor (one of Malaysia's 13 states), today, a Christian politician, Hannah Yeoh, is under fire for having written an autobiography, telling how her Christian faith helped her choose a career-path in public service.
Her accuser, university lecturer, Kamarul Zaman Yusoff, lodged a complaint with the police, alleging Yeoh was promoting a "Christian agenda" in her 2015 book, entitled, "Becoming Hannah: A Personal Journey by Hannah Yeoh".
In his official complaint, Yusoff said: "I believe this book is an attempt to persuade, influence or incite non-Christians, including Muslims, to embrace Christianity or become inclined towards Christianity".
And, while proselytising against Islam is an offence in Malaysia, Yeoh's book simply reports on her experiences in the context of her faith.
MOREOVER, Yeoh never promoted the book to Muslims.
And so, in Malaysia, if the federal constitution is to be respected, none of this constitutes a criminal offence!
But, one might be forgiven for drawing parallels between this case and that of Ahok, Jakarta's former governor, who was just imprisoned for two years on trumped up charges of blasphemy.
This type of illiberality, when it comes to misleading interpretations of the law as it relates to religious freedom and freedom of conscience, regrettably appears to be gaining strength across the Muslim world, and, in particular, in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia...countries, which, till now, have been considered to be relatively "tolerant" towards religious minorities.
Selangor is ruled by the hereditary monarch, His Royal Highness, the Sultan of Selangor. Along with the Sultan, Selangor is also civilly managed by the Chief Minister.
Therefore, this petition is directed to both the Sultan and Chief Minister of Selangor, as well as to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, the UN Secretary General, and the US Secretary of State.
Specifically, it asks these parties to intervene in Ms Yeoh's defence, and defend the law against abuses in regard of such allegations.
As Yeoh is a hard-working and senior politician, one can only speculate at the motivation behind this complaint. But one thing is for sure: we will do our best to ensure that this case gets the attention it deserves in local and Western corridors of power - so that the right of Christians, everywhere, to write about their experiences in the context of their faith, remains respected.
In the end, this petition asks that this specious complaint not be entertained by the Malaysian courts.
Thank you for signing!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
US State Department's 'Malaysia 2015 International Religious Freedom Report': https://my.usembassy.gov/irf2015_my-081016/
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Stop Legal Harassment of Christian Speaker of Malaysian State Assembly - Hannah Yeoh