The Challenges Facing Christian Minorities in Malaysia in Dialogue with Muslims

By: Wan Norhaziki bin Wan Abdul Halim Wan  

In Muslim-majority Malaysia whose official religion is Islam, augmented state-mobilised processes of Islamisation and Malaynisation, coupled with intense intra-Malay Muslim struggles have had disturbing knock-on effects on religious minorities. The issues surrounding religious freedom violations have been frequently raised by non-Muslim minorities, particularly Christian faith communities in recent years, amidst the country’s racial, cultural and religious diversity. This paper highlights the challenges faced by Malaysian Christians as a religious minority that have had adverse knock-on effects on Catholic youth in dialogue with the Malay-Muslim majority, as a result of the Muslims’ own Islamic worldview that is, to a certain extent, entangled with racial supremacism. It further recommends major reforms of education, as well as more collaborative efforts on interreligious dialogue as ideal policy options for promoting interreligious harmony and respect for people of different traditions in modern Malaysia.

Inter-religious Dialogue
The Politics of Religion
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Wan Norhaziki bin Wan Abdul Halim Wan

Vice President, Shariah, MBSB Bank (Formerly Known as Asian Finance Bank), Malaysia
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Wan Norhaziki is a Malaysian interreligious dialogue activist focusing on Catholic-Muslim relations. He is the first and only Malaysian Muslim recipient of Nostra Aetate Fellowship of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Vatican City State. Professionally, he is Vice President and Head of Shariah at a full-fledged standalone Islamic bank in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, bringing 13 years of experience with extensive exposure within a wide range of financial industries, from central banking, global standard setting, applied research, to Islamic banking sectors in both Middle Eastern and Malaysian banks.