Malaysia ex-PM: Country is recognized as Islamic

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August 7, 2007 09:18

Malaysia is an Islamic state even though it is not officially called that, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said Tuesday, stepping into a national debate over religion that has raised concern among the country's minority Chinese and Indians. "Officially we are not an Islamic state, neither are we a secular state. But by definition, as recognized by most international societies, Malaysia is an Islamic state," Mahathir told reporters. But that doesn't mean non-Muslims are deprived of their rights, Mahathir said. Concerns have mounted among the country's large Buddhist, Christian and Hindu minorities that their rights are becoming subordinate to Islam following a recent series of religious disputes that ended in favor of ethnic Malay Muslims, who comprise nearly 60 percent of Malaysia's 26 million people.


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