Black magic in Indonesia

Police in Tangerang, a city in the province of Banten, in Indonesia recently arrested a man suspected of raping his own teenage daughter repeatedly over the past year. According to the police, the 39-year-old suspect from Onyam village in Tangerang regency, divorced his wife two years ago. Meanwhile, their daughter, who is now 16, had been living with him ever since.A year after the divorce, the man allegedly began having sex with his daughter, who still goes to high school.

1 May 2020

Islamic Group Faces Pressure Amid Virus Fears

An Islamic missionary movement is at the centre of a growing controversy in South Asia after it repeatedly held massive gatherings despite warnings about the coronavirus.Hundreds of followers of the fundamentalist Tablighi Jamaat have tested positive for COVID-19 since attending congregations last month, but the group is still sending proselytisers door-to-door - sometimes without observing social distancing guidelines.The Tablighi movement - which espouses a return to "true" Islam

10 April 2020

Islamic tourism: A niche market for Brunei

When speaking about the drop in his country’s tourism sector, an unnamed government official suggested that Lao PDR should put more effort into attracting tourists from Muslim countries in the region. He said that by providing prayer rooms in public places along with promoting halal (permissible or lawful in traditional Islamic law) restaurants, the country would be more welcoming to Muslim visitors.

15 February 2020

Mutilating Southeast Asia’s girls

On 6 February, the world celebrated International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which aims to raise awareness and to eradicate the practice. Anti-FGM activists and organisations are calling FGM a crime against women and girls. Several countries such as the United Kingdom (UK) have made FGM illegal and it is considered a form of child abuse. Anyone who performs FGM in the UK can face imprisonment for up to 14 years.

12 February 2020

Behind Mahathir’s tougher stance towards India

In March last year, when Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad visited Pakistan, he made it clear that Malaysia will not take sides on the Kashmir issue. Nevertheless, at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, he was a changed man.He accused India of "invading and occupying the country" of Jammu and Kashmir.

8 February 2020

Malaysia’s Islamic schools need help

Last week, Malaysian media reported that the country’s finance minister, Lim Guan Eng had handed over an allocation of RM100 million (US$24,646,124) to the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Mujahid Yusof Rawa for the purpose of upgrading and maintaining registered Islamic schools.The allocation is divided into RM50 million (US$12,323,062) for religious Muslim schools (tahfiz schools), RM25 million (US$6,161,801) for public and private Islamic schools and RM25 million (US$6,161,801)

20 January 2020

Iran to Muslim world: Fight US 'economic terrorism'

The president of sanctions-hit Iran called Thursday for Muslim countries to cooperate in fighting United States (US) "economic terrorism" at the opening of a summit aimed at tackling the Islamic world's woes.Hundreds of delegates are attending the gathering in Malaysia - including heads of state and religious leaders - but the meeting has been snubbed by Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest shrines.The summit has also been criticised for undermining the Organisation of Is

20 December 2019

Malaysia to host major summit of Muslim leaders

Malaysia will this week host a summit of Muslim leaders billed as a forum to look at the Islamic world's problems, but it will be closely watched for Middle East power plays and their stance on China's Uighur minority.Leaders from Iran, Turkey, and Qatar will be among hundreds of delegates attending the three-day event set to discuss myriad challenges faced by Muslims.The summit has been pushed by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has long championed greater solidarity

18 December 2019

Indonesian faints during Shariah-based whipping

An Indonesian man who fainted as he was being whipped for pre-marital sex Thursday was revived to receive the rest of his punishment before being rushed to hospital. Despite international condemnation, public flogging is common for a range of offences banned under local Islamic law in the conservative Aceh region on Sumatra island, including gambling, drinking alcohol, and having gay or pre-marital sex.Aceh is the only region in Indonesia, the world's biggest Muslim-majority cou

6 December 2019

Malaysians handed jail terms for missing prayers

Six Malaysian Muslims have reportedly been handed one-month jail terms for skipping prayers in violation of Islamic laws, sparking fresh concern Wednesday about rising religious conservatism in the multi-ethnic country.Attending Friday prayers is obligatory for Muslim men in Malaysia, but it is rare for such harsh punishments to be meted out for missing them.Aged 17 to 35, the men had been caught having a picnic by a waterfall instead of taking part in prayers on a Friday, the holiest day of

5 December 2019

Nazi Thailand?

From 21 June until late November 1944, all Hungarian citizens of Jewish ethnicity living in the city of Budapest were obliged to wear the yellow star and live under curfew in designated houses with the same markings, usually made out of cardboard.

21 September 2019

Indonesia moving to ban sex outside marriage

Indonesia is set to vote on a plan to outlaw gay and pre-marital sex while beefing up its blasphemy laws in a shakeup fuelled by religious conservatism and slammed by rights groups Thursday.The proposed criminal law overhaul could affect millions in the world's biggest Muslim majority country, including heterosexual couples who might face jail for having sex outside wedlock, or having an affair.But there are also fears it could punish the Southeast Asian nation's small LGBT communit

20 September 2019