In debates in the past regarding the ability of Islam to co-exist peacefully along side other religions, Malaysia has been held up as an example of this. With that in mind, I have researched and put together this summary of facts about that country. Islam is the state sanctioned official religion of Malaysia Nine of the Malaysian states have constitutional Malay monarchs (most of them styled as Sultans). These Malay rulers still maintain authority over religious affairs in states. The newest format of the Malaysian Identity Card (MyKad) divides Malaysians into various religious groups, i.e. Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist. The building of non-Muslim religious structures is strictly controlled by the government. In addition to this, the government also funds the construction of mosques and suraus. Often the government will disapprove the setting up of Churches outright. In some cases, they have even resorted to demolishing churches in Muslim-majority areas, and setting up mosques in Muslim-minority areas. The Malaysian government has also persecuted Christian groups who were perceived to be attempting to proselytize to Muslim audiences. In 2004 and 2005, the Government caused an uproar within the Chinese community by closing down and demolishing some ancient Chinese temples in Chinese-majority areas. In as recent as June 2006, the Government has demolished more than 30 Hindu temples in Hindu majority areas. The construction or setting-up of non-Muslim places of worship are financed privately by the devotees themselves. This is in stark contrast to Muslim places of worship, which are built with public funds. Therefore, tax paying non-Muslims are forced to financially support Islam while being limited from establishing their own places of worship at their own expense. Local housing bylaws require that the housing developer construct mosques in every new housing area regardless of the racial and religious demographics. As defined by the constitution of Malaysia, Malays must be Muslim, regardless of their ethnic heritage; otherwise, legally, they are not Malay. It is legally possible to become a Malay if a non-Malay citizen with a Malaysian parent converts to Islam. At certain Malaysian institutions such as the International Islamic University, wearing of the tudung is mandatory; however for non-Muslim students this usually amounts to a loosely worn piece of cloth draped over the back of the head. The tudung , or the hijab, is a symbol of a Muslim woman. This is such because it represents the modesty of a woman's way, as described by the religion. Some find the tudung to be an indication of Arabic influence in Malay Muslim culture, and point to other incidents such as the banning of the traditional Malay wayang kulit in the state of Kelantan (which is ruled by the Islamist PAS) for being "un-Islamic". As required by Malaysian law and defined in the Constitution, a Malay would surrender his ethnic status if he were not Muslim. The nation maintains two parallel justice systems in the country (see: Courts of Malaysia). One is the secular justice system based upon laws gazetted by Parliament. The other is sharia (syaria, Islamic law). Ostensibly syariah courts only have jurisdiction over persons who declare themselves to be Muslims. Consequently, this results in non-Muslims not having legal standing in syariah courts. The rules of sharia are set by the various sultans of the states. Historically a sultan had absolute authority over the state. On September 29, 2001, the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad declared that the country was an Islamic state (negara Islam). Government in general supports Islamic religious establishment and it is the official policy to "infuse Islamic values" into the administration of the country. For Muslim children, religious education according to a government-approved curriculum is compulsory in public schools. The state of Selangor passed a legal amendment in 1989 that if an adult converts to Islam, any infant children become converted at the same moment. Muslims who wish to convert from Islam face severe obstacles. For Muslims, particularly ethnic Malays, the right to leave the Islamic faith and adhere to another religion is a controversial question, and in practice it is very difficult for Muslims to change religions. In 1999 the High Court ruled that secular courts have no jurisdiction to hear applications by Muslims to change religions. According to the ruling, the religious conversion of Muslims lies solely within the jurisdiction of Islamic courts. The issue of Muslim apostasy is very sensitive. In 1998 after a controversial incident of attempted conversion, the Government stated that apostates (i.e., Muslims who wish to leave or have left Islam for another religion) would not face government punishment so long as they did not defame Islam after their conversion. However, whether the very act of conversion was an "insult to Islam" was not clarified at the time. In April 2000, the state of Perlis passed a Sharia law subjecting Islamic "deviants" and apostates to 1 year of "rehabilitation" (under the Constitution, religion, including Sharia law, is a state matter). Leaders of the opposition Islamic party, PAS, have stated the penalty for apostasy after the apostates are given a period of time to repent and they do not repent is death. Statistics indicate that Negeri Sembilan has the largest number of converts, with 840 applications made to renounce Islam in 2005, 62 of which succeeded. An academic has suggested that this is because Negeri Sembilan is the only state which permits conversion. A convert must first apply to the Syariah Court for a declaration that he or she is no longer a Muslim; the convert will then be counseled for about a year by a Mufti. If, after this period, the convert still wants to convert, the judge may permit the application. This process is unique to the state; no other state allows Muslims to officially convert. In five states Perak, Malacca, Sabah, Terengganu, and Pahang conversion is a criminal offense which can be punished by a fine or jail term. In Pahang, convicted converts may also be punished with up to six strokes of the cane. Proselytizing of Muslims by members of other religions is prohibited in most states and can lead to lengthy jail sentences and many strokes of the rotan (whipping). Most Christian and a few other religious groups in Malaysia put a standard disclaimer on literature and advertisements stating "For non-Muslims only". In 2002 the government banned the Bible in Malay (Al-Kitab Mahasuci) and in Iban (Bup Kudus). Some states have laws that prohibit the use of Malay-language religious terms such as usage of the term "Allah" for God by Christians. Generally, the Malaysian practice of Islam frowns upon dogs; the rationale being that they are unclean. n 2004, the town council of Subang Jaya made it a pre-condition of dog ownership that anyone applying for a dog license having a Muslim neighbor would be required to seek their "approval" before applying for a license. The sale of pork and pork products is very restricted in Malaysia. Traders wishing to sell pork in some areas require prior authorization, particularly in predominantly Muslim regions. In practice this causes difficulty for the large Chinese population in Malaysia for whom pork is a part of every-day cuisine. There is constant regulatory pressure upon pig farms which has lead to many being closed down. In Malaysia, there is an income tax. Money paid to "zakat" or the obligatory alm Muslims must give to the poor reduces the tax to be paid while money paid to other religions under similar circumstances is not given similar treatment: it reduces tax only if the particular beneficiary has obtained such status from the government, which is difficult in practice. even then, if money is donated to a non-Muslim religion it is only deducted from the income on which the amount of tax is based, while zakat is deducted from the amount of tax itself. For example, suppose a person earning RM 50,000 owes a tax of RM 3,000, and donates RM 1,000 to his religion. If he were non-Muslim he would then adjust his assessed income to RM 49,000. If he were Muslim then he would only have to pay RM 2,000 as the RM 1,000 would be deducted from the amount owed. Movies which depict people considered prophets in Islam are generally censored or banned as the depiction of prophets is considered "haraam" (not allowed) under Islam. Clearly, if there is religious tolerance in Malaysia, it is from the other religions, not from Muslims, which shows itself as decidedly intolerant.