Religious Freedom in Malaysia
Watch the ERLC film, Malaysia: A Fight for Freedom and Identity and sign up below to engage in our work to secure religious freedom in Malaysia.
Malaysia enjoys a rich history of pluralism and a Constitution that protects religious freedom. Though over 60% of the country practices Sunni Islam, there is a small and vibrant Malaysian Christian minority of about 10%. Churches, seminaries, and other ministry efforts were historically allowed to exist and thrive for the last 200 years.
But there are storm clouds on the horizon.
Malaysia registers the religion of all its citizens and the ID card has each person’s religion printed on it. Practicing Christians are at times even registered as Muslims because of forced conversions, marriage arrangements, or clerical errors. Once Islam is on their ID, they are treated as Muslims by the government. They are unable to legally marry other Christians. Their children are registered accordingly and required to attend Muslim schools. They will even receive a Muslim burial. And due to the expanding influence of Sharia law in Malaysia, conversion from Islam to any other religion is totally prohibited. All of this is true even for those who are actually followers of Christ.
But there are reasons for hope.
Malaysians just elected, for the first time since its independence in 1957, a new political party to lead the country. Malaysians, particularly religious minorities, are full of hope and promise for what the new parliament will do. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission is committed to protecting our Christian brothers and sisters from further pressure and working for the religious freedom of all Malaysians.
The United Nations in Geneva hosts a Member State driven review of each state’s human rights record, known as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The UPR process offers civil society opportunities to participate as well. The ERLC, in partnership with the Religious Freedom Institute (RFI) the St. Charles Institute (SCI), and the Religious Freedom and Liberty Partnership (RFL) submitted reports on the threats to and opportunities for greater religious freedom in Malaysia.
- ERLC & RFI on the Hudud Law in Malaysia
- ERLC & SCI on Forced Religious Conversions in Malaysia
- Religious Freedom and Liberty Partnership in Malaysia