NGO: Why no action on those insulting other faiths?

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A women’s rights group has questioned the apparent double standard in cases of religious insults, particularly the lack of action against a preacher who disparaged the faith of non-Muslims.

Sisters in Islam (SiS) questioned the use of the Attorney-General’s discretion to declare “no further action” in the case.

The group pointed to the double standard in a woman being hauled to court for allegedly insulting Islam, while a Muslim preacher had no action taken against him for disparaging the faith of non-Muslims.

The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had said it decided not to charge Syakir Nasoha on the ground that the video about him was taken out of context and did not touch on religious sensitivity in the country.

SiS executive director Rozana Isa said the Federal Constitution stated that everyone should be treated equally.

“In both cases, the people have come out strongly in their reactions and responses and yet, the government regarded one to be more offensive than the other, given their subsequent actions on these cases,” she told FMT.

Rozana said more than 3,000 police reports were lodged against the preacher and religious minority communities might perceive a bias in the enforcement of laws.

Meanwhile, Penang deputy chief minister P Ramasamy shared a similar sentiment in a statement, asking: “Why are the slightest infringements against Islam or Muslims taken so seriously whereas the repeated insults and disparagement against non-Muslims are ignored?”

“Are insults against Islam and Muslims considered more serious than insults against non-Muslim religions and non-Muslims?”

He also questioned the attorney-general’s refusal to prosecute such preachers despite the many repeated cases of them condemning the beliefs of non-Muslims.

The founder of Komuniti Muslim Universal, Aizat Shamsuddin, said the authorities must not be so quick to come down hard on those who are accused of insulting religions.

“Such cases should be properly studied. It would be better for people convicted of delivering such hate speech to receive counselling,” he said. – FMT