Juli 2018
Islam and Human Rights: Case Study on Freedom of Religion in Malaysia
10.07.2018 18:15 Uhr

Prof. Dr. Kerstin Steiner
Law School, La Trobe University ,
Melbourne, Australia

Room S64 (RWI)

Malaysia’s society is multi-racial and multi-religious in nature, comprising Muslims (61.3% of the population), Buddhists (19.8%), Christian (9.2%) and Hindus (6.3%). In this multi‐religious context, Islam plays an important factor in Malaysia’s social, cultural, political and legal framework. Over the last decades, Malaysia has been struggling with the officially endorsed system of legal pluralism whereby Islamic and civil law coexist as perceived independent niches of the legal system causing significant legal, political and social tension. One of the areas where those tensions between the different legal systems is apparent is in the area of human rights and in particular the freedom of religion. The two legal systems are vying for normative dominance as to what system prevails in cases of conflict. Human rights are enshrined in the constitutional framework of Malaysia and one might assume that the constitution does indeed prevail over religious laws. Yet, this is not necessarily the case. All three branches of government, legislature, executive and judiciary are not only at odds with each other but also conflicted within. Various civil societies have also taken special interest in the protection of human rights. The presentation will detangle this complex web by using selected case studies on freedom of religion to illustrate the different approaches taken by various stakeholders in this discourse of human rights.