Earlier this month, a picture of an Atheist Republic gathering in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia went viral, leading to a government crackdown. This is a nation that, in theory, celebrates the freedom of religion, but those rules don’t apply to Muslims who leave their faith — and certainly not to Muslims who become atheists. Government officials wanted to know if there were any ex-Muslims in that picture because they could be fined or prosecuted.
Shahidan Kassim, a minister in President Najib Razak‘s Cabinet, even said on camera that atheists in the country must be “hunted down,” because their lack of religion amounted to illegal thought crimes.
Now the Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar has weighed in with even more idiotic advice. He just issued a warning… to atheists.
Stop hurting the feelings of Muslims.
“I advise this atheist group not to cause uneasiness, particularly among Muslims who reject atheism,” he told a news conference after witnessing a transfer of duty in the narcotics criminal investigation department and pinning on new rank insignias for senior officers.
Khalid said the nation’s constitution recognised Islam as the official religion without any provision in it for atheism.
He said the police would scrutinise the existing laws to enable appropriate action to be taken should the atheist group cause anxiety among Muslims.
Just a reminder: The picture above was a gathering of atheists. They weren’t starting arguments outside a mosque; they were just talking amongst themselves.
And how can atheists not cause anxiety against Muslims when many Muslims get offended over perceived slights against their faith? If moderates get mad over drawings of Muhammad, radicals kill over westernized culture, and the Malaysian government getting anxious over atheists hanging out, there’s really nothing atheists can do to protect their feelings.
Other than just shutting up about their atheism. Which, let’s face it, is what the Malaysian government really wants.
One reporter asked the top cop what he’d do about Muslims who threaten atheists, which is an excellent question. Too bad the response was disappointing.
“If [atheists] are threatened and there is an infringement of the laws, we will investigate and take action,” he said.
Great. They’re going to go after hateful Muslims with the same urgency that Donald Trump will go after white supremacy groups. I’m sure all the atheists feel safe.