Should Atheism Exist in Malaysia? Richard Dawkins Thinks So

Uh, oh. Renowned biologist Richard Dawkins is back at it again with his jabs at Malaysian leaders as he weighs in the recent debate on atheism in Malaysia.

Earlier this year in August, Shahidan Kassim, a fellow minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, spoke openly regarding atheism in Malaysia:

“The [Federal Constitution] does not mention atheists. It goes against the Constitution and human rights. I suggest that we hunt them down vehemently and we ask for help to identify these groups.”

Dawkins was evidently disturbed by the statement, and wasn’t shy to voice out his opinions on the matter.

That was back in August. Earlier this week, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki too spoke out regarding the growing numbers of atheists in Malaysia:

“We have to understand that in the Malaysian context, our Federal Constitution states that the freedom of religion does not mean freedom from any religion because that is unconstitutional. This means we cannot incite someone to leave a religion or promote not having a religion. We cannot order or promote a belief of not having a religion, that is against the Federal Constitution.” 

Dawkins took to Twitter once again to give his two cents about Malaysian Deputy Minister’s recent statement on atheism.

A few months ago, issues regarding atheism started surfacing when a picture of a gathering by a group identified as Atheist Republic circled around social media. The photos sparked an uproar among some Muslims who openly made death threats against the group on social media.

Following the debacle, the government announced that they would begin investigating whether any Muslims had joined the group. Asyraf continued proclaiming that any Muslims found to be in the group would be sent for counselling, while attempts to spread atheist ideas could be prosecuted under existing laws.

A few days after, Dawkins followed up with another tweet:

Dawkins has long been vocal when it comes to religion and the power it imposes on the society. Author of The God Delusion, Dawkins once wrote:

“Faith can be very very dangerous, and deliberately to implant it into the vulnerable mind of an innocent child is a grievous wrong.”

Article 11(1) of the Malaysian Federal Constitution states that “Every person has the right to profess and practise his religion and propagate it”, subject to clause Article 11(4) that prohibits the propagation to Muslims.