Myanmar government releases draft bill to restrict religious conversion

By May 30, 2014 14:02

Myanmar government releases draft bill to restrict religious conversion

Myanmar’s government has proposed legislation that will require those wishing to change religion to register and obtain approval from the government.

By Kanaha Sabapathy

Updated Fri 30 May 2014, 7:22am AEST

A Rohonya refugee from Burma, who tried to cross into Bangladesh but was refused.

The government’s draft religious conversion bill is thought to be targeted at restricting rights of Rohingya Muslims (Photo: AFP/MUNIR UZ ZAMAN

(Australian Network News)- Under the draft religious conversion bill, forcing someone to convert to another religion will be punishable by one year in prison.

It will also be made an offence to insult another religion.

Human rights activists believe the bill has come from pressure on the government by extreme Buddhist nationalists fearing a growing Islamic population, and could be related to surging anti-Muslim violence against the Rohingya minority.

The groups see the bill as a ploy to prevent conversion to Islam, particularly to stop Buddhist women converting to marry Muslim men, under the guise of protecting religious freedom.

National Democratic Party for Development chairman Abu Tahay has told Radio Australia’s Asia Pacificprogram he believes the bill is targeted at Muslims and will restrict social inclusion.

“As well as not supporting an all-inclusive political culture, this is also making restrictions of people’s freedoms,” he said.

“This is not going to support the further democratic progress of our country.”

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By May 30, 2014 14:02

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