A Malaysian official is calling for a national crackdown on atheists in the country, suggesting that atheists are unconstitutional and should therefore be “hunted down” by authorities.
In a Tuesday press conference at Malaysia’s Parliament, Minister in the federal Cabinet Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim has called upon fellow Malaysians to help the authorities in locating atheist groups. He said that groups, such as the Kuala Lumpur chapter of Atheist Republic, have no place under the country’s Federal Constitution, reports the Malay Mail Online.
“The (Federal Constitution) does not mention atheists. It goes against the Constitution and human rights,” Kassim was quoted as saying.
“I suggest that we hunt them down vehemently and we ask for help to identify these groups,” he said, adding that most of these atheists converted from Islam due to lack of religious education.
“They actually don’t want to be atheists but it happens because of the lack of religious education. They are misled with a new school of thought.”
Kassim further stressed how religious groups should help in educating former Muslims who have already abandoned their religion.
“We need to return them to the faith and correct their aqidah if they are Muslims. To all Mufti’s and state exco’s, take note,” he said.
A recent gathering of the Kuala Lumpur atheist group recently caused outrage online in the local Muslim community after pro-Islamist blogs shared an image of them on social media. The image went viral and generated negative reactions and even death threats from agitated netizens.
Atheist Republic, which has an international membership, currently has more than a million followers on social media. Meanwhile, Deputy minister in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki has vowed to investigate the local group.