Muslim Protest Halts Forum on Religion in Malaysia

August 11, 2008

Author: Sean Yoong

Original Source: The Straits Times

Protestors forced lawyers in Malaysia to abandon a conference on religious conversion on Saturday, decrying it as an effort to challenge the official status of Islam in this Muslim-majority country.

Police instructed the Bar Council to halt the conference for security reasons after more than 300 demonstrators gathered outside the headquarters of the legal association.

Council President Ambiga Sreenavasan ended the forum less than an hour after it began, saying the lawyers respected the opinions of the protesters and 'have no quarrel with anyone'.

The outcry over the conference - which was meant to examine how families are caught in legal conflicts if one spouse in a marriage converts to Islam - mirrors the resistance of some Muslims to what they say are minorities' unfair demands for religious equality.