Let’s hope his boss doesn’t intend to introduce this multi-faith model in the United States.
Kerry said, “We meet in Kuala Lumpur because this is a multi-cultural city at the heart of a multi-ethnic, multi-faith country, and history has proven time and again that diversity is one of the most important catalysts for discovery.
“Here in Malaysia, people of different heritages have been in conversation for a long, long time. You see it in the open houses that you host during holidays, welcoming people of different faiths into your living rooms.”
How has that conversation been going? Let’s look at some highlights.
Authorities in Malaysia have seized more than 20,000 Bibles in recent months because they refer to God as “Allah,” Christian leaders said Thursday.
The seizures have fed fears among minority groups, which see signs of encroaching Islamic fundamentalism in the predominantly Muslim but multi-racial country.
And some more highlights of multi-cultural and multi-faith and multi-ethnic Malaysia.
“Our calculation shows one temple being demolished in every three weeks,” P. Uthayakumar, a lawyer for the Hindu Rights Action Task Force, a Malaysian rights group, told Reuters.
“The UMNO government is not following the Constitution, which guarantees the freedom of religion.”
Ethnic Indians say a decades-old affirmative action plan put in place after deadly race riots in 1969 continues to discriminate against them.
The policy favours politically dominant Malays in state contracts, businesses, jobs, education and housing.
But wait, there’s more multi-faith goodness.
Over 90 per cent deaths in police custody are of Hindus. Every week, 1.3 persons on average are shot by the police; 95 per cent are Hindus. A staggering 70 per cent of Indian Malaysians have been reduced to hardcore poor, poor or working class, with 90 per cent being in the daily or monthly wage-earning category.
One of the worst problems is forced conversions to Islam, which has become particularly acute since 2001, despite the provision for freedom of religion entrenched in Article 11 in the Malaysian Constitution. A recent case that has shaken the country involves a 27-year-old Tamil Hindu, Bangaramma, who was converted as a minor in a Government orphanage and registered as a Muslim without her knowledge. She continued to regard herself as a Hindu, worshipping and marrying a Hindu in a temple, according to Vedic rites.
Bangaramma is now fighting for her religious freedom in order to live as a Hindu with her Hindu husband and two children, as the Government is refusing to register her marriage and to acknowledge her husband as father of her children. Worse, she is being threatened with the charge of apostasy, which in Islamic Malaysia means she can be forcibly separated from her husband and children (aged two and seven).
But wait, there’s more national living room conversations in Malaysia about religion. Even if you’re a Muslim from a non-recognized sect.
The Selangor Council of Islamic Religion in Malaysia has issued a notice ordering the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Malaysia (AMC Malaysia) to immediately stop offering Friday Prayer services at the national AMC headquarters, the Bait-us-Salam Mosque.
In its order, the MAIS has stated that failure by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to comply with the terms of the order will result in imprisonment of up to one year and/or a fine up to RM3000 (~$850 USD).
Is this what Kerry really considers a model of multiculturalism? But wait… there’s an explanation.
Kerry’s speech was originally to have been delivered by Obama, who launched the annual business gathering in Washington.