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Course Information

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion (FOTCR) is a fundamental human right. Everyone should have the right to determine their own religion or belief without coercion, violence or discrimination, no matter who they are and where they live.

Having said that, intolerance, oppression and violations of religious freedom are evident in many areas of the world, where instead of celebrating our different religions and beliefs, governments and non-state actors have, in certain instances, tried to exert dominance of one religion over another, at the expense of diversity and acceptance. In Malaysia, we continue to grapple with a number of issues, such as the erosion of religious freedom of individuals and communities who do not follow Sunni Islam, the strict and rather general restriction of proselytisation by non-Muslims to Muslims, and the wilful conversion of children without the consent or knowledge of one parent.

Whether we are a person of faith or a person without any faith or belief, as legal practitioners and law students, if we want to contribute to the application of human rights in Malaysia, it is important to deepen our understanding about FOTCR.

This online course on freedom of thought, conscience and religion (FOTCR) will highlight the important aspects of this freedom in international and domestic law. We will be talking about article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and specific aspects of FOTCR in Malaysia. We have chosen to focus on four topics that deserve attention due to their importance in Malaysia; this includes apostasy from Islam and persons wrongly considered Muslim though professing another religion; unilateral conversion to Islam of minor children by one parent; issues relating to proselytisation and non-propagation by non-Muslims among persons professing Islam; and issues relating to the conflict within persons professing Islam including State action against persons considered deviants.

Course Syllabus (Module 01 – 05)
Overall Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Have a basic understanding of the international human rights law framework with regard to FOTCR.
  • Be familiar with some of the main challenges of FOTCR in Malaysia.
Module 01
  • Quiz Chapter 1.1
  • Quiz Chapter 1.2
  • Quiz Chapter 1.3
  • Quiz Chapter 1.4
Module 02
  • Quiz Chapter 2.1
  • Quiz Chapter 2.2
Module 03
  • Quiz Chapter 3.1
  • Quiz Chapter 3.2
  • Quiz Chapter 3.3
Module 04
  • Quiz Chapter 4.1
  • Quiz Chapter 4.2
Module 05
  • Quiz Chapter 5.1
  • Quiz Chapter 5.2
Course Syllabus (Module 06)
Overall Learning Objectives

Upon completion of Module 6, you will be able to:

  • Understand that FOTCR issues impact women differently from men;
  • Discern the difference between Syariah, fiqh, and Islamic law, and its significance for law reform;
  • Appreciate how law as an institution simultaneously enables discrimination and yet provides relief against discrimination; and
  • Recognise the intersections between identities including gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, class, race, and ability in relation to FOTCR.
Module 06
  • Quiz Chapter 6.1
  • Quiz Chapter 6.2