Malaysian Minister Shahidan Kassim has made international news by proclaiming that atheists should be “hunted down” and that constitutional rights do not apply to them. He is not alone in the heavily Islamic nation in this hateful view and many support such a crackdown.
The sheer ignorance and intolerance of Shahidan Kassim is breathtaking. He called on the public to help hunt for members of Kuala Lumpur chapter of Atheist Republic. He insisted that these people were beneath the constitution and that indeed they are an offense to it:
“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.”
Shahidan Kassim explained that an atheist was just an uneducated person who needed to be educated on Islam:
“They actually don’t want to be atheists but it happens because of the lack of religious education. They are misled with a new school of thought . . .We need to return them to the faith and correct their aqidah if they are Muslims. To all Mufti’s and state exco’s, take note.”
The hatred for atheists reflects the underlying belief that Sharia law should be imposed on everyone. Atheists in Malaysia have defied the continual threats to their safety to live their lives according to their own beliefs. They fight for principles like free speech and free association against the constant threats from hateful leaders like Shahidan Kassim.