Brunei takes another step towards full implementation of Sharia

Parliament building in Brunei's capital, Bandar Seri Begawan. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Brunei’s Sultan and his Islamic Religious Council have approved a draft Criminal Code that brings the country another step closer to the full implementation of Sharia (Islamic law), the Borneo Bulletin reports. The draft outlines procedures for investigation, prosecution and the judiciary, and would facilitate the introduction of harsher punishments . . . Read More

Pakistan Senate seeks same sentences for blasphemy offenders and those who falsely accuse

In November there were widespread anti-blasphemy protests in Islamabad and other cities in reaction to proposed changes to an election law. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Pakistan’s Senate Special Committee on Human Rights has recommended that those who falsely accuse someone of blasphemy should receive the same punishment as those convicted of blasphemy. The Committee also said registration of a blasphemy case should include a minimum of two witnesses who support the charges. Right-wing political parties . . . Read More

Malaysian Federal Court refuses four people their right to affirm Christian identity

The Palace of Justice in Putrajaya, Malaysia. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Malaysia’s highest court dismissed an appeal today (27 February) against four appellants who wanted to be formally recognised as Christians. The five judges of the Malaysian Federal Court ruled that in matters of conversion away from Islam, it was necessary for them to consult the Islamic Sharia courts. The president . . . Read More

Malaysia’s reputation as moderate Muslim nation hangs by a thread

Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia is seen by most Western countries as one of the moderate Muslim nations, an ally to be cultivated and befriended in the battle against militant Islam. The country’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak, was among one of the leaders to visit US President Donald Trump in his first year of . . . Read More

­Maldives activist investigated for ‘blasphemy’ over ‘religions other than Islam’ tweet

Shahindha Ismail (Photo: Twitter)
An activist in the Maldives has received death threats and is being investigated for “blasphemy” after posting a tweet in response to President Abdulla Yameen’s comment that his government would not allow any other religion in the country than Islam. Shahindha Ismail, executive director of the Maldives Democracy Network, tweeted: . . . Read More

South Sudan’s Christians return to Sudan, despite pressures

Village church in Goli, South Sudan. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Many of the Christians who fled Sudan after the South’s independence in 2011 have returned, even though the authorities continue to close churches and harass Christians there, a Catholic priest told The Economist. Prayer centres that were closed have been reopened, Father Juma Charles of St Matthew’s Catholic Cathedral in . . . Read More

Iran MPs want to change law so people can only vote for candidates from their own religion

Iran MPs want to change law so people can only vote for candidates from their own religion
Conservative MPs within Iran’s parliament are proposing that Iranians should only be allowed to vote for members of their own religious group. In Iran, where 90-95% of the population is Shia Muslim, this will essentially mean that it will be impossible for members of religious minorities to be elected. The . . . Read More

Behind Nigeria persecution ‘lies prejudice, weak leadership, corruption, historic grievance’

Behind Nigeria persecution ‘lies prejudice, weak leadership, corruption, historic grievance’
Support for the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram is a reaction to Western-backed corruption, colonial-era intervention and weak Nigerian leadership, a Catholic archbishop has said. Archbishop Matthew Kukah of Sokoto in north-western Nigeria told World Watch Monitor that sympathy for the extremist group in northern Nigeria’s majority-Muslim states was fuelled . . . Read More

ASEAN nations told to ‘end blasphemy laws that inspire violence’

A right for all - USCIRF report on ASEAN nations
On its 50th anniversary, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should repeal blasphemy laws, release prisoners of conscience and strengthen interfaith relationships, says the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). In a new report, USCIRF highlights regional “arrests, detentions, and imprisonments based on religious belief, practice, or activities, . . . Read More