KL to probe claims that Muslims attended atheist meeting

KUALA LUMPUR • The Malaysian government says it will investigate claims on social media that Muslims attended a recent meeting organised by international group Atheist Republic in Kuala Lumpur.

According to national news agency Bernama, Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, said the country's religious departments could take action against these Muslims if it is proven that they have been involved in atheist activities.

"If it is proven that there are Muslims involved in atheist activities that could affect their faith, the state Islamic religious departments... could take action," he told reporters on Sunday.

Atheist Republic, a non-profit group based in Canada, responded yesterday that any crackdown on non-believers will affect Malaysia's image as a moderate Muslim country. "What does this group do to anybody? How do they harm anybody?" Mr Armin Navabi, the founder of the Vancouver-based group, told the Malay Mail Online yesterday.

He said the group was just meant for non-believers to socialise and have a support community.

The issue first came to light after several Islamist blog sites posted a photo of the group's gathering in Kuala Lumpur, which appeared to feature young Malay Muslims, posing with Iran-born Mr Navabi.

The posts drew considerable ire, including calls for the "apostates" to be arrested and threats to behead Mr Navabi.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2017, with the headline 'KL to probe claims that Muslims attended atheist meeting'. Print Edition | Subscribe