Posted on 11-04-2015
Filed Under (talking points) by David Chong

By Ng Kam Weng

The recent amendments to the Sedition Act effectively curtail freedom of speech as the prospect of being hauled up by the authorities for alleged sedition will discourage public debates on social-political issues. There is little assurance that the government will not abuse the wide ranging power given by the Act to suppress democratic dissent, given it pattern of selective enforcement of the law against opposition leaders, lawyers, journalists and civil rights activists.

It should be noted that some Muslim extremists have found it convenient to accuse leaders of the non-Islamic communities of sedition, when these leaders are only defending religious liberty that is enshrined in the Constitution. The amendments to the Sedition Act will embolden these extremists to continue making unfounded and irresponsible accusations.

It would be regrettable if the government uses the Sedition Act to restrict religious freedom, and apply censorship laws to control religious dialogue and debate, as it ends up depriving its citizens of the very tool that could help overcome ignorance and prejudice between religious communities. Indeed, it is the duty of the government to counter religious extremism by promoting open and honest interfaith dialogue.

It is timely that we analyze the problem of censorship of religious freedom and the imperative for genuine interfaith dialogue so that we may cultivate mutual respect and acceptance between various religious communities.

The article given below, “Interfaith Dialogue and Democratic Virtues” was originally published at the website of the Singapore Christian think-tank, Ethos Institute of Public Christianity. I strongly encourage readers to visit the website as it contains useful articles on how to relate Christian faith to public issues which ranges from politics, modernity, science medical ethics and biotechnology. You can expect more articles will be forthcoming as it is supported by many competent and committed Christian scholars.

Check out the details here

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