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Creeping religious conservatism restricts expression and religious freedoms

Across the region, a creeping religious conservatism restricts and penalises expression. These restrictions were seen throughout 2018 across national and religious lines – from India to Malaysia, Indonesia to Myanmar.

For the third time since 2010, a petition was presented to the Constitutional Court of Indonesia seeking repeal of the country’s blasphemy law – which is routinely used to persecute religious minorities, including the Ahmadiyyah religious community – but was rejected.

In recent years, extremist groups and hardline clerics have been aggressive in persuading authorities to enforce a strict interpretation of Islamic teachings in governance.[1]


[1] Human Rights Watch, Indonesia’s Blasphemy Law Survives Court Challenge, 26 July 2018, available at