Religions Tension and Tolerance in Malaysia : A Survey of Newspaper Resport Incidents from 1997-2003

Abdul Salam Muhamad Shukri,


Abstract


Malaysia being a multi racial and multi religious society has the unique honour of being the home of many religions and races of people. However, its constitution states that Islam is the 'religion of the Federation', being the religion of the Malay people whose form the majority of the people inhibiting the geographical area called Malaysia. Based on this multi-dimensional nature of Malaysia and its constitution recognition of a particular religion as the official religion in the midst of many others, even though these other religions are practiced by the minority in the country, one would expect that there should be, and certainly would be a religious tension in the country as in other countries of the same nature like Malaysia. Moreover, since there was a crisis of this nature on the 13th of May 1969, in which there was a racial cum religious riot, which resulted in the death of a number of people, it is worthwhile to look into what is happening now and to now if this kind of tension still exist or not. Thus based on this assumption and on the fact that a thing of this nature has happened before in this nation, this article makes a survey of major newspaper reports on religious crisis in the country between the periods of 1997 to 2003 in order to ascertain whether religious tension still continue to exist in the country or not. And if it does not exist anymore, what are the modalities or factors responsible for its non-existence?


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