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Asian Journal of Comparative Law


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1932-0205
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Bias and Religious Truth-Seeking in Proselytization Restrictions: An Atypical Case Study of Singapore

Jianlin Chen
Published Online: 2013-11-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/asjcl-2013-0024

Abstract

Proselytisation restrictions are typically subjected to two objections. First, these restrictions curtail religious liberty and impede religious truth-seeking. Second, these restrictions tend to favour politically dominant religions and discriminate against minority religions. The restrictions on offensive religious propagation in Singapore thus present an interesting departure in which sanctioned religions are not politically marginalised religions, whereas protected religions include numerical minority religions that are socially, economically, and politically disadvantaged. This article utilises the atypical case study of Singapore to highlight the limitations of the two typical objections toward proselytisation restrictions. In particular, the emphasis on religious truth-seeking underpinning these objections is premised upon a distinct set of religious worldviews not shared by the majority of religions in Singapore. This article posits that if religious truth-seeking is no longer the accepted normative goal, then there may be circumstances in which some limited and even-handed restrictions on offensive religious propagation are sufficiently justified on the grounds of social peace and harmony.

Keywords: freedom of religion; Proselytization restrictions; religious harmony; Singapore

About the article

Assistant Law Professor (University of Hong Kong), JSD Candidate (University of Chicago), LLM (University of Chicago), LLB (University of Singapore). Admitted to the bar inNew York and Singapore.


Published Online: 2013-11-09


Research Funding: This research is generously supported by University of Hong Kong’s Seed Funding Programme


Timothy L. Hall, “Toleration and Dogmatism: The Contribution of Baptists to Law” in Robert F. Cochran, Jr. ed., Faith and Law: How Religious Traditions from Calvinism to Islam View American Law (New York University Press, 2008) at 77, 85; Barry A. Kosmin & Ariela Keysar, Religion in a Free Market (Paramount Market Publishing, 2006) at 11; Peter Radan, “International Law and Religion: Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” in Peter Radan et al. eds., Law and Religion: God, the State and the Common Law (Routledge, 2005) at 9, 17; R. Andrew Chesnut, Competitive Spirits: Latin America’s New Religious Economy (Oxford University Press, 2003) at 11.

Rosalind I.J. Hackett, “Revising Proselytization in the Twenty-first Century” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 1, 3–4; M. Todd Parker, “The Freedom to Manifest Religious Belief: An Analysis of the Necessity Clauses of the ICCPR and the ECHR” (2006) 17 Duke J. Comp. & Int’l L. 91, 91–92. See infra II.B.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) 2010 S.J.L.S. 484, 488–493. See Grace Y. Kao, “The Logic of Anti-proselytization, Revisited” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 76 (discussing and critiquing the various arguments supporting restrictions on proselytization).

Examples include Malaysia, Greece and India: see infra II.A.

Infra III.B.

Public Prosecutor v. Ong Kian Cheong [2009] SGDC 163, at para. 28 & 33 (hereinafter “Ong Kian Cheong case”); Khushwant Singh, “Jailed for ‘wounding feelings’ of Muslims” The Straits Times (7 August 2010). See infra III.C.

Infra IV.A. See generally Zhong Zewei, “Racial and Religious Hate Speech in Singapore: Management, Democracy, and the Victim’s Perspective” (2009) 27 Sing. L. Rev. 13 (discussing the Singapore incidents from the perspective of hate speech).

Tai-Heng Cheng, “The Central Case Approach to Human Rights: Its Universal Application and the Singapore Example” (2004) 13 Pac. Rim L. & Pol’y J. 257, 270. For discussion of the Internal Security Act, see infra III.B.2.d.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) 2010 S.J.L.S. at 489 & 506–508; Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “Seditious in Singapore! Free Speech and the Offence of Promoting Ill-Will and Hostility Between Different Racial Groups” (2011) 2011 S.J.L.S. 351, 364–366. See infra V.

Singapore Department of Statistics, Census of Population 2010 Statistical Release 1: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion (2011) at 13.

Mathew Mathews, “Accommodating Relationship: The Church and State in Singapore” in Julius Bautista & Francis Khek Gee Lim eds., Christianity and the State in Asia (Routledge, 2009) at 184, 187; Jean DeBernardi, “Asia’s Antioch: Prayer and Proselytism in Singapore” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 252, 257. Infra V.A.

Infra V.A.

Infra V.B.

Infra V.C.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 508–509.

Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “Seditious in Singapore! Free Speech and the Offence of Promoting Ill-Will and Hostility Between Different Racial Groups” (2011) S.J.L.S. at 354; Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S at 493.

Lawrence Rosenthal, “First Amendment Investigations and the Inescapable Pragmatism of the Common Law of Free Speech” (2011) 86 Ind. L.J. 1, 61–62 & 61 n. 288; Steven G. Gey, “The First Amendment and the Dissemination of Socially Worthless Untruths” (2008) 36 Fla. St. U.L. Rev. 1, 6–9; Geoffrey R. Stone et al., Constitutional Law, 5th ed. (Aspen Publishers, 2005) at 1054–1056; William P. Marshall, “Truth and Religion Clauses” (1994) 43 DePaul L. Rev. 243, 256.

Daniel O. Conkle, “Religious Truth, Pluralism, and Secularization: The Shaking Foundations of American Religious Liberty” (2011) 32 Cardozo L. Rev. 1755, 1757–1762; Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 493; M.H. Ogilvie, “Between Liberté and Égalité: Religion and the State in Canada” in Peter Radan et al. eds., Law and Religion: God, the State and the Common Law (Routledge, 2005) at 134, 154; William P. Marshall, “Truth and Religion Clauses” (1994) 43 DePaul L. Rev. at 255–256.

Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “Seditious in Singapore! Free Speech and the Offence of Promoting Ill-Will and Hostility Between Different Racial Groups” (2011) S.J.L.S. at 371–372; Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 493.

Infra V.C.

Anat Scolnicov, The Right to Religious Freedom in International Law (Routledge, 2011) at 198; Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 484–487; Rosalind I.J. Hackett, “Revising Proselytization in the Twenty-first Century” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 3–4.

Anat Scolnicov, The Right to Religious Freedom in International Law (Routledge, 2011) at 198–199; Grace Y. Kao, “The Logic of Anti-proselytization, Revisited” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008).

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 490–493 (noting but not endorsing the argument).

Art. 11(4), Constitution (Malaysia) (“State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Lubuan, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.”).

See Nurjaanah Abdullah @ Chew Li Hua, “Legislating Faith in Malaysia” [2007] S.J.L.S. 264.

The criminalised proselytisation is defined as “any direct or indirect attempt to intrude on the religious beliefs of a person of a different religious persuasion (eterodoxos), with the aim of undermining those beliefs, either by any kind of inducement or promise of an inducement or moral support or material assistance, or by fraudulent means or by taking advantage of the other person’s inexperience, trust, need, low intellect or naivete.”: section 4, Greek Law No. 1363/68 (amended by Law No. 1672/39).

“Greece” in U.S. Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report (July–December 2010), online: <http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/171697.pdf> (last visited 1 February 2013); Kyriakos N. Kyriazopoulos, “Proselytization in Greece: Criminal Offense vs. Religious Persuasion and Equality” (2004) 20 J.L. & Religion 149, 160.

Kyriakos N. Kyriazopoulos, “Proselytization in Greece: Criminal Offense vs. Religious Persuasion and Equality” (2004) 20 J.L. & Religion at 154–155.

“Greece” in U.S. Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report (July-December 2010), online: <http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/171697.pdf> (last visited 1 February 2013).

Robert W. Neufeldt, “To Convert or Not to Convert: Legal and Political Dimensions of Conversion in Independent India” in Robert D. Baird ed., Religion and Law in Independent India, 2nd ed. (Manohar, 2005) at 381, 399.

Stephen C. Berkwitz, “Religious Conflict and the Politics of Conversion in Sri Lanka” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 199, 219.

By the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008: Russell Sandberg, Law and Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2011) at 131.

Eric Barendt, “Free Speech and Religion: Secular and Religious Perspectives on Truth” in András Sajó ed., Censorial Sensitivities: Free Speech and Religion in a Fundamentalist World (Eleven International Publishing, 2007) at 23, 37; Paul Weller, “Equity, Inclusivity and Participation in a Plural Society: Challenging Establishment of the Church of England” in Peter W. Edge & Graham Harvey eds., Law and Religion in Contemporary Society (Ashgate, 2000) at 53, 61. See also Russell Sandberg, Law and Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2011) at 131–139 (also discussing how the blasphemy law was in fact policed extra-legally notwithstanding the absence of official prosecution).

Eric Barendt, “Free Speech and Religion: Secular and Religious Perspectives on Truth” in András Sajó ed., Censorial Sensitivities: Free Speech and Religion in a Fundamentalist World (Eleven International Publishing, 2007) at 37; Paul Weller, “Equity, Inclusivity and Participation in a Plural Society: Challenging Establishment of the Church of England” in Peter W. Edge & Graham Harvey eds., Law and Religion in Contemporary Society (Ashgate, 2000) at 61.

Zahid Hussain, “Islamists Rally in Pakistan” Wall Street Journal (10 January 2011) at A10; Thomas F. Farr, “The Widow’s Torment: International Religious Freedom and American National Security in the 21st Century” (2009) 57 Drake L. Rev. 851, 861.

Phillip E. Hammond et al., Religion on Trial: How Supreme Court Trends Threaten the Freedom of Conscience in America (Altamira Press, 2004) at 49; James Hitchcock, The Supreme Court and Religion in American Life: Volume I The Odyssey of The Religion Clauses (Princeton University Press, 2004) at 33.

Leonard A. Leo et al., “Protecting Religions from ‘Defamation’: A Threat to Universal Human Rights Standards” (2011) 34 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 769, 771.

Larry Witham, Marketplace of the Gods: How Economics Explains Religion (Oxford University Press, 2010) at 115; Rodney Start & Roger Finke, Acts of Faith: Explaining the Human Side of Religion (University of California Press, 2000) at 199–200.

Andrew Koppelman, “Corruption of Religion and the Establishment Clause” (2009) 50 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1831, 1835; Robert F. Cochran, Jr., “Evangelicals, Law, and Abortion” in Robert F. Cochran, Jr. ed., Faith and Law: How Religious Traditions from Calvinism to Islam View American Law (New York University Press, 2008) at 91, 100–101.

Larry Witham, Marketplace of the Gods: How Economics Explains Religion (Oxford University Press, 2010) at 148–152; R. Andrew Chesnut, Competitive Spirits: Latin America’s New Religious Economy (Oxford University Press, 2003) at 8–10; Michael W. McConnell & Richard A. Posner, “An Economic Approach to Issues of Religious Freedom” (1989) 56 U. Chicago L. Rev. 1, 55.

Andrew Koppelman, “Corruption of Religion and the Establishment Clause” (2009) 50 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. at 1902; Robert F. Cochran, Jr., “Evangelicals, Law, and Abortion” in Robert F. Cochran, Jr. ed., Faith and Law: How Religious Traditions from Calvinism to Islam View American Law (New York University Press, 2008) at 101; Steven H. Shiffrin, “The Pluralistic Foundations of the Religion Clauses” (2004) 90 Cornell L. Rev. 9, 43–44.

One example is the “Peace Policy” instituted under President Ulysses S. Grant to provide funding for religious organisations that will assist in educating and “civilizing” the Indians. Most of the initial recipients were Protestant missionaries. However, when Catholics and other non-Protestants ended up with bulk of the funding (apportioned according to school enrolments), oppositions to the programs from Protestant community ensued: Phillip E. Hammond et al., Religion on Trial: How Supreme Court Trends Threaten the Freedom of Conscience in America (Altamira Press, 2004) at 35–36.

Supra notes 24–37 and accompanying text.

Daniel O. Conkle, “Religious Truth, Pluralism, and Secularization: The Shaking Foundations of American Religious Liberty” (2011) 32 Cardozo L. Rev. at 1763; Li-ann Thio, “Courting Religion: The Judge Between Caesar and God in Asian Courts” (2009) 2009 S.J.L.S. 52, 52; M. Todd Parker, “The Freedom to Manifest Religious Belief: An Analysis of the Necessity Clauses of the ICCPR and the ECHR” (2006) 17 Duke J. Comp. & Int’l L. at 91.

Richard M. Esenberg, “Must God be Dead or Irrelevant: Drawing a Circle that Lets Me in” (2009) 18 Wm. & Mary Bill Rts. J. 1, 37; Lucy Vickers, Religious Freedom, Religious Discrimination and the Workplace (Hart Press, 2008) at 29–40; Li-ann Thio, “Constitutional ‘Soft’ Law and Management of Religious Liberty and Order: The 2003 Declaration on Religious Harmony” (2004) 2004 S.J.L.S. 414, 417.

Barry A. Kosmin & Ariela Keysar, Religion in a Free Market (Paramount Market Publishing, 2006) at 11; R. Andrew Chesnut, Competitive Spirits: Latin America’s New Religious Economy (Oxford University Press, 2003) at 11; Peter Radan, “International Law and Religion: Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” in Peter Radan et al. eds., Law and Religion: God, the State and the Common Law (Routledge, 2005) at 17; Timothy L. Hall, “Toleration and Dogmatism: The Contribution of Baptists to Law” in Robert F. Cochran, Jr. ed., Faith and Law: How Religious Traditions from Calvinism to Islam View American Law (New York University Press, 2008) at 85. C.f., Stephen C. Berkwitz, “Religious Conflict and the Politics of Conversion in Sri Lanka” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 212 (noting distinction between evangelical Christian and mainline Christian churches which have “come to deemphasize the call to convert and instead focus on ministering to the already faithful”).

R. Andrew Chesnut, Competitive Spirits: Latin America’s New Religious Economy (Oxford University Press, 2003) at 11; Peter Radan, “International Law and Religion: Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” in Peter Radan et al. eds., Law and Religion: God, the State and the Common Law (Routledge, 2005) at 17.

Rosalind I.J. Hackett, “Revising Proselytization in the Twenty-first Century” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 3–4; M. Todd Parker, “The Freedom to Manifest Religious Belief: An Analysis of the Necessity Clauses of the ICCPR and the ECHR” (2006) 17 Duke J. Comp. & Int’l L. at 91–92.

Peter Radan, “International Law and Religion: Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” in Peter Radan et al. eds., Law and Religion: God, the State and the Common Law (Routledge, 2005) at 17; Kyriakos N. Kyriazopoulos, “Proselytization in Greece: Criminal Offense vs. Religious Persuasion and Equality” (2004) 20 J.L. & Religion at 168–179.

Li-ann Thio, “Constitutional ‘Soft’ Law and Management of Religious Liberty and Order: The 2003 Declaration on Religious Harmony” (2004) S.J.L.S. at 422.

Stephen C. Berkwitz, “Religious Conflict and the Politics of Conversion in Sri Lanka” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 216; Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 510.

Leonard A. Leo et al., “Protecting Religions from ‘Defamation’: A Threat to Universal Human Rights Standards” (2011) 34 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y at 782; Daniel O. Conkle, “Religious Truth, Pluralism, and Secularization: The Shaking Foundations of American Religious Liberty” (2011) 32 Cardozo L. Rev. at 1757–1762; William P. Marshall, “Truth and Religion Clauses” (1994) 43 DePaul L. Rev. at 255–260 (advocating the search for truth as a justification of the Religion Clauses).

Robert P. George, “Natural Law” (2008) 31 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 171, 183–184.

Rodney K. Smith & Patrick A. Shea, “Religion and the Press: Keeping First Amendment Values in Balance” (2002) 2002 Utah L. Rev. 177, 200.

Geoffrey R. Stone et al., Constitutional Law, 5th ed. (Aspen Publishers, 2005) at 1054–1056; William P. Marshall, “Truth and Religion Clauses” (1994) 43 DePaul L. Rev. at 256; Lawrence Rosenthal, “First Amendment Investigations and the Inescapable Pragmatism of the Common Law of Free Speech” (2011) 86 Ind. L.J. at 61–62 & 61 n.288; Steven G. Gey, “The First Amendment and the Dissemination of Socially Worthless Untruths” (2008) 36 Fla. St. U.L. Rev. at 6–9.

Zorach v. Clauson 343 U.S. 306, 313 (1952).

William P. Marshall, “Truth and Religion Clauses” (1994) 43 DePaul L. Rev. at 255–256; M.H. Ogilvie, “Between Liberté and Égalité: Religion and the State in Canada” in Peter Radan et al. eds., Law and Religion: God, the State and the Common Law (Routledge, 2005) at 154.

Supra II.A.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 492.

E.g., Stephan Ortmann, Politics and Change in Singapore and Hong Kong: Containing Contention (Routledge, 2010) at 73–75 & 126–127; William Case, Politics in Southeast Asia: Democracy or Less (Curzon, 2002) at 90–95.

See generally Jaime Koh & Stephanie Ho, Culture and Customs of Singapore and Malaysia (Greenwood Press, 2009) at 1–24 (a concise historical account of the region).

Ibid., at 27–40; Eugene K. B. Tan, “Keeping God in Place: The Management of Religion in Singapore” in Lai Ah Eng ed., Religious Diversity in Singapore (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008) at 55, 56.

Singapore Department of Statistics, Census of Population 2010 Statistical Release 1: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion (2011) at viii.

The ancestry of Peranakans and Eurasians can be traced back to the fifteenth-century Malacca Sultanate. Peranakans are descendents of Chinese traders and local Malay women, while Eurasians are the direct offspring of Malacca’s Portuguese conquerors who married local women: Jaime Koh & Stephanie Ho, Culture and Customs of Singapore and Malaysia (Greenwood Press, 2009) at 3–4. For census purpose, the ethnicity is as declared by the individuals and does not necessarily reflect the historical ancestry.

Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng, State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a Reformist Buddhism in Singapore (Eastern Universities Press, 2003) at 136.

Singapore Department of Statistics, Census of Population 2010 Statistical Release 1: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion (2011) at 13.

Ibid., at 156.

Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism, and Competition in Singapore Society (Koninklijke Brill, 2007) at 235; Li-ann Thio, “Control, Co-optation and Co-operation: Managing Religious Harmony in Singapore’s Multi-ethnic, Quasi-Secular State” (2006) 33 Hastings Const. L.Q. 197, 234. U.S. style culture war in the Singapore context could also be even more divisive with the potential faults lines drawn between different religions or ethnic groups: Clarissa Oon, “Singapore v Taiwan: Seeking an active citizenry – without the fist fights” The Straits Times (20 September 2008).

For example, the Maria Hertogh court case in 1950 sparked riots by Muslims against Christians, especially the Europeans and Eurasians. Maria Hertogh was a Dutch-Eurasian who was baptized as a Catholic but was later raised as a Muslim by a Muslim family after her parents was arrested by the Japanese during the Second World War. She went through a marriage ceremony with a Muslim but the court annulled the marriage and sent her to a Catholic convent. Given the colonial context, it is not surprising that the Malay Muslim population perceived the court judgment as imposing of European cultural, racial and religious supremacy: see Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism, and Competition in Singapore Society (Koninklijke Brill, 2007) at 232; Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng, State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a Reformist Buddhism in Singapore (Eastern Universities Press, 2003) at 142–143. The Malay-Chinese riots in the 1964 similarly reflected the inextricable nature of race and religion in Singapore’s socio-political dynamics. Racial tension was already strained over whether Malays should be granted special rights as indigenous people, but the flash point was alleged the religious insults during the Muslim’s possession in celebration of the Prophet Mohammed birthday: Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism, and Competition in Singapore Society (Koninklijke Brill, 2007) at 232–233; Tey Tsun Hang, “Excluding Religion from Politics and Enforcing Religious Harmony – Singapore-Style” (2008) 2008 S.J.L.S. 118, 121; Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng, State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a Reformist Buddhism in Singapore (Eastern Universities Press, 2003) at 143.

Arti Mulchand, “Religion: The big switch” The Straits Times (9 August 2008).

Pre-independence population census by the Colonial government had included religious affiliation till 1931, when the persistent close correlation between race and religion render enquires of little value. Collection on religious affiliation data was only resumed in 1980: Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism, and Competition in Singapore Society (Koninklijke Brill, 2007) at 58–59.

Singapore Department of Statistics, Census of Population 2010 Statistical Release 1: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion (2011) at 13.

Jaime Koh & Stephanie Ho, Culture and Customs of Singapore and Malaysia (Greenwood Press, 2009) at 32; Joseph B. Tamney & Riaz Hassan, Religious Switching in Singapore: A Study of Religious Mobility (Select Books, 1987) at 6.

Richard Lim, “Buddhism’s Draw is No Longer as a Folk Religion” The Straits Times (20 May 20 2005); Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism, and Competition in Singapore Society (Koninklijke Brill, 2007) at 89.

“Four in Five Young People Here Believe in Religion” The Straits Times (3 September 2008).

Singapore Department of Statistics, Census of Population 2010 Statistical Release 1: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion (2011) at 14.

Li Xueying, “Reaping a rich harvest of converts” The Straits Times (16 July 2005); Phyllis Ghim-Lian Chew, “Religious Switching and Knowledge Among Adolescents in Singapore” in Lai Ah Eng ed., Religious Diversity in Singapore (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008) at 381, 388–390.

Leow Bee Geok, Census of Population 2000: Advance Data Release (2001) at 35; Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism, and Competition in Singapore Society (Koninklijke Brill, 2007) at 60–62.

Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism, and Competition in Singapore Society (Koninklijke Brill, 2007) at 62. Also, 97.1% of Indians were “born into their religion”: Ibid., at 84.

Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism, and Competition in Singapore Society (Koninklijke Brill, 2007) at 81.

Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (1999 Rev. Ed.), art. 15(4).

Daryl Chin, “Ex-foes link up to promote religious tolerance” The Straits Times (21 November 2010); Zakir Hussain, “Religious harmony: 20 years of keeping the peace” The Straits Times (24 July 2009) (noting various government pronouncement about aggressive proselytisation).

Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (Cap. 167A), s. 8.

Jothie Rajah, “Policing Religion: Discursive Excursions into Singapore’s Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act” in Penelope (Pip) Nicholson & Sarah Biddulph eds., Examining Practice, Interrogating Theory: Comparative Legal Studies in Asia (Martinus Nijhoff, 2009) at 267, 276–277.

Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (Cap. 167A) at s. 16.

Ibid., at ss. 12 &18. The Elected President is an position set up in 1991 to serve as institutional check on the parliamentary executive over various public finance and public administration matters. The Elected President is elected in a national election and served a four-year term. The efficacy of the independent check provided by the Elected President is arguable given that the position has been occupied by individuals that are perceived as formerly affiliated or otherwise sympathetic to the ruling party: see Li-ann Thio, “Lex Rex or Rex Lex? Competing Conceptions of the Rule of Law in Singapore” (2002) 20 UCLA Pac. Basin L.J. 1, 15–22 & 50–53. It is also worth pointing out that the this ouster clause has yet to be tested in courts.

Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism, and Competition in Singapore Society (Koninklijke Brill, 2007) at 247; M. Nirmala, “Govt reins in religious leaders” The Straits Times (12 May 2001) at 1.

Maintenance of Religious Harmony White Paper (Cmd 21 of 1989), para. 5.

M. Nirmala, “Govt Reins in Religious Leaders” The Straits Times (12 May 2001).

Ibid.; Michael Hill, “The Rehabilitation and Regulation of Religion in Singapore” in James T. Richardson ed., Regulating Religion: Case Studies from Around the Globe (Kluwer Academic, 2004) at 343, 356.

Though the process is not secret. Section 15 requires the publication of the restraining order in the Government Gazette: Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (Cap. 167A) at s. 15.

M. Nirmala, “Keeping faith – And celebrating differences” The Straits Times (12 May 2001) at H10.

Ibid.

Mathew Mathews, “Accommodating Relationship: The Church and State in Singapore” in Julius Bautista & Francis Khek Gee Lim eds., Christianity and the State in Asia (Routledge, 2009) at 193 (although this could also be due to the perception that less aggressive evangelistic strategy is more successful in the long term).

Zhou Shuxin, “Ge zhongjiao tuanti linxiu: chuanjiao xu zhunzhong bieren zhongxiao xingyang [Various religious organisation leaders: Must respect others’ religious belief during proselytization]” Lianhe Zaobao (11 February 2010).

Debbie Tan, “Agree to Disagree: Conversations on Conversion”, online: <www.conversion.buddhists.sg> (last visited 1 February 2013) at 18.

Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “Seditious in Singapore! Free Speech and the Offence of Promoting Ill-Will and Hostility Between Different Racial Groups” (2011) S.J.L.S. at 353–355 (discussing the historical origin of the Sedition Act).

Ibid., at 354–355.

Sedition Act (Cap. 290), s. 4.

Ibid., at s. 3(3).

Lydia Lim, Zakir Hussain & William Han, “Drawing the line on racist remarks” The Straits Times (24 September 2005); Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “Seditious in Singapore! Free Speech and the Offence of Promoting Ill-Will and Hostility Between Different Racial Groups” (2011) S.J.L.S. at 356–357.

Chong Chee Kin, “Racist bloggers jailed” The Straits Times (8 October 2005).

Ibid. (“one comment compared the Muslim religion to Satanism”).

Aaron Low, “Online or off, if it fans hatred, govt will act” The Straits Times (18 September 2005).

Penal Code (Cap. 224), s. 298A.

Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, Parliament No. 11 Hansard Vol. 15 (2007) (Ho Peng Kee); Penal Code (Cap. 224) at s. 298.

Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, Parliament No. 11 Hansard Vol. 15 (2007) (Ho Peng Kee).

Ibid. (Ho Peng Kee).

Ibid. (Zaqy Mohamad; Ong Kian Min; Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim; Charles Chong; Lim Biow Chuan).

Ibid. (Teo Ho Pin).

Internal Security Act (Cap. 143).

Ibid., at s. 8B. After the Court of Appeal (the highest court) held that an illegally, irrationally or procedurally improper exercise of government power would trigger judicial review even for the broadly defined discretion of detention powers under the Internal Security Act, the Constitution and the Internal Security Act were amended to revert the law to the doctrine prior to that decision: Gordon Silverstein, “Singapore: The Exception that Proves Rules Matter” in Tom Ginsburg & Tamir Moustafa eds., Rule by Law: The Politics of Courts in Authoritarian Regimes (Cambridge University Press, 2008) at 73, 79–81; Li-ann Thio, “Lex Rex or Rex Lex? Competing Conceptions of the Rule of Law in Singapore” (2002) 20 UCLA Pac. Basin L.J. at 18, 58–63.

Farid Sufian Shuaib, “Controlling Political Communication in the Blogosphere: Business as Usual in Malaysia” (2011) 16(1) Comms. L. 27, 28–29 (discussing similar laws in Malaysia).

Supra note 112.

Kevin Y.L. Tan, “Constitutionalism in Times of Economic Strife: Developments in Singapore” (2009) 4 Nat’l Taiwan U.L. Rev. 115, 122; Tae Yul Nam, “Singapore’s One-Party System: Its Relationship to Democracy and Political Stability” (1969) 42(4) Pacific Affairs 465, 472–473.

Li-ann Thio, “Control, Co-optation and Co-operation: Managing Religious Harmony in Singapore’s Multi-ethnic, Quasi-Secular State” (2006) 33 Hastings Const. L.Q. at 240.

Lydia Lim & Li Xueying, “The legacy of 1987” The Straits Times (7 July 2007); Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism, and Competition in Singapore Society (Koninklijke Brill, 2007) at 239.

Between 2001 and 2002, 36 people were detained by the ISD under the Internal Security Act for alleged involvement in planning a radical Islamist terrorist attack on Singapore: Senia Febrica, “Securitizing Terrorism in Southeast Asia: Accounting for the Varying Responses of Singapore and Indonesia” (2010) 50(3) Asian Survey 569, 576–577. In February 2007, a law graduate was detained under the Internal Security Act for training for a militant jihad: Ken Kwek, “Learn about Islam from credible sources” The Straits Times (16 June 2007).

Public Prosecutor v. Ong Kian Cheong [2009] SGDC 163.

Elena Chong, “Couple admitted sending out tracts” The Straits Times (6 December 2008).

Public Prosecutor v. Ong Kian Cheong [2009] SGDC 163, at para. 4; Elena Chong, “Couple go on trial for sedition” The Straits Times (5 December 2008).

Elena Chong, “Couple go on trial for sedition” The Straits Times (5 December 2008).

Public Prosecutor v. Ong Kian Cheong [2009] SGDC 163, at paras. 4 & 16.

Ibid., at para. 6; Elena Chong, “Couple go on trial for sedition” The Straits Times (5 December 2008).

Public Prosecutor v. Ong Kian Cheong [2009] SGDC 163, at paras. 17–19. This resulted in three visits by the couple to the MDA. In the third visit, the couple took home the tracts which were not found objectionable by MDA, though the couple denied being told why the tracts were detained. The wife also claimed that the husband “was not paying attention and occupied himself looking at the posters displayed in the office” when she was talking to the MDA officer: Ibid., at paras. 17–19. The couple had approached the case with a diminished role of the husband in the activities, i.e. involved only in the physical activity of posting: Ibid., at paras. 27, 43 & 61.

Ibid., at paras. 25–27 & 29–32; Elena Chong, “Accused says he had not read offensive comics” The Straits Times (30 January 2009). Direct mailing as a means of spreading the gospel messages has been an established strategy of Christian evangelicalism in Singapore: Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng, State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a Reformist Buddhism in Singapore (Eastern Universities Press, 2003) at 279–280.

Elena Chong, “‘20,000’ tracts mailed over 7 years” The Straits Times (7 April 2009).

Public Prosecutor v. Ong Kian Cheong [2009] SGDC 163, at para. 35.

The couple testified that they did not identify themselves as senders on the envelopes because they did not see the need to communicate at all with the tract recipients: Ibid., at paras. 26 & 32. The judge agreed with the public prosecutor that the anonymity was intended to avoid detection: Ibid., at paras. 73 & 83.

Elena Chong, “Couple admitted sending out tracts” The Straits Times (6 December 2008).

Carolyn Quek, “Tracts ‘no different from da vinci code’” The Straits Times (11 March 2009).

Public Prosecutor v. Ong Kian Cheong [2009] SGDC 163, at paras. 55–56; Elena Chong, “Booklets available in store, says lawyers” The Straits Times (29 January 2009).

Public Prosecutor v. Ong Kian Cheong [2009] SGDC 163, at paras. 28, 33; Elena Chong, “Accused says he had not read offensive comics” The Straits Times (30 January 2009). Section 6(2) of the Sedition Act provides an affirmative defence of ignorance of publication’s seditious tendency, if there was no “want of due care or caution.”

Public Prosecutor v. Ong Kian Cheong [2009] SGDC 163, at para. 33 (The couple provided evidence by way of photographs taken in November 2008 of the tracts being sold at a local bookstore, although the judge noted that the couple had been ordering the tracts directly online from Chick Publications since 2000, and thus did not believed the couple’s defence that the offensive tracts were purchased at the local bookstore.).

Public Prosecutor v. Ong Kian Cheong [2009] SGDC 163, at paras. 44–66, 86; Carolyn Quek, “Seditious tract duo jailed eight weeks” The Straits Times (11 June 2009).

Khushwant Singh, “Jailed for ‘wounding feelings’ of Muslims” The Straits Times (7 August 2010).

Ibid.

Ibid.

See Ahmad Nizam Bin Abbas, “The Islamic Legal System in Singapore” (2012) 21 Pac. Rim L. & Pol’y J. 163, 167–171 (discussing the function and structure of MUIS).

Khushwant Singh, “Jailed for ‘wounding feelings’ of Muslims” The Straits Times (7 August 2010).

The case was mentioned in passing in Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “Seditious in Singapore! Free Speech and the Offence of Promoting Ill-Will and Hostility Between Different Racial Groups” (2011) S.J.L.S. at 363.

Yen Feng, “ISD calls up pastor for insensitive comments” The Straits Times (9 February 2010). For a background of Pastor Rony Tan, see Jennani Durai, “The man behind the controversy” The Straits Times (9 February 2010).

Yen Feng, “ISD calls up pastor for insensitive comments” The Straits Times (9 February 2010).

Ibid.

Ibid.

“ISD Acts” The Straits Times (9 February 2010).

Ibid.

Chua Hian Hou, “Racist facebook postings: Three youths won’t be charged” The Straits Times (13 February 2010).

“Pastor’s Apology” The Straits Times (9 February 2010).

“ISD Acts” The Straits Times (9 February 2010).

Grace Chua, “Leaders of buddhist, taoist groups urge restraint” The Straits Times (9 February 2010) (Singapore Buddhist Federation’ secretary-general, Venerable Kwang Phing: “It is good that the authorities have looked at this matter, but this is a matter of national concern. We want to appeal to the public and the authorities to make sure there is no second time”; Singapore Taoist Federation chairman Tan Thiam Lye: “If (Pastor Tan) is sincere, we accept his apology, and hope this sort of thing does not happen again.”). See also Yang Zhengjiang, “Mushi daoxian xianlan bugou chengyi [Apology by pastor is clearly not sufficiently sincere]” Lianhe Zaobao (13 February 2010) (a member of the public writing to the Chinese press opining that the online apology is not sufficiently sincere).

Yen Feng, “Buddhist, Taoist leaders accept pastor’s apology” The Straits Times (10 February 2010).

Yen Feng, “Pastor: I’ve let many people down” The Straits Times (16 February 2010).

Yen Feng, “Buddhist, Taoist leaders accept pastor’s apology” The Straits Times (10 February 2010).

Yen Feng, “ISD looks into clip of sermon which mocked Taoist beliefs” The Straits Times (15 June 2010).

Ibid.

Ibid. (statement by the Ministry of Home Affairs).

Ibid.

Yen Feng, “New creation pastor apologises for ‘indiscretion’” The Straits Times (16 June 2010).

Ibid.

Yen Feng, “Pastor says sorry and gains a friend” The Straits Times (17 June 2010).

Ibid.

Yen Feng, “Different faiths to gather at Taoist festivity” The Straits Times (1 December 2010).

E.g., Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “Seditious in Singapore! Free Speech and the Offence of Promoting Ill-Will and Hostility Between Different Racial Groups” (2011) S.J.L.S.; Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S; Zhong Zewei, “Racial and Religious Hate Speech in Singapore: Management, Democracy, and the Victim’s Perspective” (2009) 27 Sing. L. Rev.

Daryl Chin, “Ex-foes link up to promote religious tolerance” The Straits Times (21 November 2010); Zakir Hussain, “Religious harmony: 20 years of keeping the peace” The Straits Times (24 July 2009).

Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism, and Competition in Singapore Society (Koninklijke Brill, 2007) at 267.

Li-ann Thio, “Control, Co-optation and Co-operation: Managing Religious Harmony in Singapore’s Multi-ethnic, Quasi-Secular State” (2006) 33 Hastings Const. L.Q. at 238; Jean DeBernardi, “Asia’s Antioch: Prayer and Proselytism in Singapore” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 258.

Jean DeBernardi, “Asia’s Antioch: Prayer and Proselytism in Singapore” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 259–260; Li-ann Thio, “Control, Co-optation and Co-operation: Managing Religious Harmony in Singapore’s Multi-ethnic, Quasi-Secular State” (2006) 33 Hastings Const. L.Q. at 238.

“Foolhardy to Take Harmony for Granted” The Straits Times (25 July2009) (Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security S. Jayakumar).

Li-ann Thio, “Control, Co-optation and Co-operation: Managing Religious Harmony in Singapore’s Multi-ethnic, Quasi-Secular State” (2006) 33 Hastings Const. L.Q. at 237.

Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, Parliament No. 11 Hansard Vol. 15 (2007) (Ho Peng Kee).

Anat Scolnicov, The Right to Religious Freedom in International Law (Routledge, 2011) at 206–207; Kathleen Mahoney, “Hate Speech, Equality, and the State of Canadian Law” (2009) 44 Wake Forest L. Rev. 321, 325–326. See also Brett A. Barnett, Untangling the Web of Hate: Are Online “Hate Sites” Deserving of First Amendment Protection? (Cambria Press, 2007) at 134 (observing that religious speech was “a major component of the vast majority of the sampled hate sites.”).

Public Prosecutor v. Ong Kian Cheong [2009] SGDC 163, at para. 6.

Ibid., at para. 35.

Jack T. Chick, Set Free (Chick Publications, 2007), online: <http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/1037/1037_01.asp> (last visited 1 February 2013).

Supra III.C.3 & III.C.4.

Yen Feng, “ISD looks into clip of sermon which mocked Taoist beliefs” The Straits Times (15 June 2010). The church reported that the church “stop reproducing” the particular sermons after the church reviewed their archive for insensitive materials after the Pastor Tan incident (February 2010), although the third party who uploaded the clip told the press that he received the materials from a Christian whom he presumed is the adherent of the New Creation church in May 2010: Ibid.

Li Xueying & Ken Kwek, “Say Aaah…men” The Straits Times (15 October 2005).

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S at 506–508.

Ibid., at 485–486; Li-ann Thio, “Constitutional ‘Soft’ Law and Management of Religious Liberty and Order: The 2003 Declaration on Religious Harmony” (2004) S.J.L.S. at 422.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 485–488.

Ibid., at 485.

Li-ann Thio, “The Passage of a Generation: Revisiting the Report of the 1966 Constitutional Commission” in Li-ann Thio & Kevin Y.L. Tan eds., Evolution of a Revolution: Forty Years of the Singapore Constitution (Routledge-Cavendish, 2009) at 7 (“In its genesis, the Singapore Constitution was not a product of mature deliberation or a broad-based popular, consultative process.”).

Ibid., at 11–12.

While statistics on the English literacy of the population during that period is not readily available, it is telling that even after nearly two decades of concerted government efforts in promoting the English language, only 33.7% are literate in English in the 1970 population census, and 56.6% indicating comprehension of English in a 1975 survey: S. Gopinathan, “Singapore Language Policies: Strategies for a Plural Society” (1979) 1979 Southeast Asian Affairs 280, 282; Eddie C.Y. Kuo, “Multilingualism and Mass Media Communications in Singapore” (1978) 18(10) Asian Survey 1067, 1068.

“Report of the Constitutional Commission 1966” in Kevin Tan Yew Lee et al., Constitutional Law in Malaysia & Singapore (Malayan Law Journal, 1991), Appendix D, para. 14.

Ibid., at para. 38.

“Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission, 1956–1957 Report” in Kevin Tan Yew Lee et al., Constitutional Law in Malaysia & Singapore (Malayan Law Journal, 1991), Appendix A, para. 162 (It was a one-liner: “And we recommend (art 11) that freedom of religion should be guaranteed to every person including the right to profess practice and propagate his religion subject to the requirements of public order, health and morality, and that subject also to these requirements, each religious groups should have the right to manage its own affairs, to maintain religious or charitable institutions including schools, and to hold property for these purposes (art 12).”). The main debate on religion is about whether Islam should be designated as the state religion: Ibid., at para. 169.

Robert W. Neufeldt, “To Convert or Not to Convert: Legal and Political Dimensions of Conversion in Independent India” in Robert D. Baird ed., Religion and Law in Independent India, 2nd ed. (Manohar, 2005) at 383–388; Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 494–496; Krishna Prasad De, Religious Freedom Under the Indian Constitution (Minerva Associates, 1977) at 46–47. See also Gurpreet Mahajan, “Religion and the Indian Constitution: Questions of Separation and Equality” in Rajeev Bhargava ed., Politics and Ethics of the Indian Constitution (Oxford University Press, 2008) at 297 (discussing the broader political backdrop and issues underpinning the Indian constitutional debate of religion).

“Report of the Constitutional Commission 1966” in Kevin Tan Yew Lee et al., Constitutional Law in Malaysia & Singapore (Malayan Law Journal, 1991), Appendix D, para. 38.

See Li-ann Thio, “‘It Is a Little Known Legal Fact”: Originalism, Customary Human Rights Law and Constitutional Interpretation” (2010) 2010 S.J.L.S. 558, 569–570 (arguing for originalism in judicial interpretation of the Singapore Constitution). C.f., Yap Po Jen, “Constitutionalising Capital Crimes: Judicial Virtue or ‘Originalism’ Sin?” (2011) 2011 S.J.L.S. 281 (rebutting Thio on the normative desirability of originalism in the context of Singapore).

Robert W. Neufeldt, “To Convert or Not to Convert: Legal and Political Dimensions of Conversion in Independent India” in Robert D. Baird ed., Religion and Law in Independent India, 2nd ed. (Manohar, 2005) at 388–398 (discussing the relevant legislature at the three Indian provinces and the subsequent upholding by the courts); Robert D. Baird, “Traditional Values, Government Values, and Religious Conflict in Contemporary India” (1988) 1988 B.Y.U.L. Rev. 337, 351–354 (discussing the relevant legislature at the three Indian provinces and the subsequent upholding by the courts); James Andrew Huff, “Religious Freedom in India and Analysis of the Constitutionality of Anti-Conversion Laws” (2009) 10 Rutgers J.L. & Religion 3, 7–13 & 35–44.

Tsun Hang Tey, “Judicial Internalizing of Singapore’s Supreme Political Ideology” (2010) 40 Hong Kong L. J. 293, 320; Li-ann Thio, “Control, Co-optation and Co-operation: Managing Religious Harmony in Singapore’s Multi-ethnic, Quasi-Secular State” (2006) 33 Hastings Const. L.Q. 209–210.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S at 502.

Ibid., at 504.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S at 504–505.

William Goh, “Constant vigilance the answer” The Straits Times (11 February 2010); Wu Jungang, “Quebao zhongjiao hexie de youxing zhi shou [The visible hand that ensures religious harmony]” Lianhe Zaobao (10 February 2010).

Yen Feng, “Buddhist, Taoist leaders accept pastor’s apology” The Straits Times (10 February 2010); “Need to deal with such problems quickly: PM” The Straits Times (16 February 2010); Kor Kian Beng, “Don’t trivialise beliefs of others: SM Goh” The Straits Times (14 February 2010).

Chua Hian Hou, “Racist facebook postings: Three youths won’t be charged” The Straits Times (13 February 2010).

Supra III.B.2.d.

Supra III.C.4.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 503. See also Li-ann Thio, “Relational Constitutionalism and the Management of Religious Disputes: the Singapore ‘Secularism with a Soul’ Model” (2012) Oxford J. L. & Religion 1, 19–20.

“What Others Say About the Incident” The Straits Times (10 February 2010).

“Statements from Buddhist and Taoist Federations and DPM Wong Kan Seng” The Straits Times (10 February 2010).

Jean DeBernardi, “Asia’s Antioch: Prayer and Proselytism in Singapore” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 265.

Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng, State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a Reformist Buddhism in Singapore (Eastern Universities Press, 2003) at 272–277.

Jean DeBernardi, “Asia’s Antioch: Prayer and Proselytism in Singapore” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 266–267; Zakir Hussain, “Religious harmony: 20 years of keeping the peace” The Straits Times (24 July 2009).

Zakir Hussain, “Religious harmony: 20 years of keeping the peace” The Straits Times (24 July 2009) (“Ms Angie Monksfield, president of the Buddhist Fellowship, told Insight that the notice [about MHRA and notifying authorities] was put up ‘in response to members’ complaints [of unwanted proselytization and idol-smashing]…We’ve received complaints for years; we finally decided to do something about it.”).

M. Nirmala, “Keeping faith – And celebrating differences” The Straits Times (12 May 2001).

Yen Feng, “Pastor says sorry and gains a friend” The Straits Times (17 June 2010); Yen Feng, “Buddhist, Taoist leaders accept pastor’s apology” The Straits Times (10 February 2010).

Stephanos Bibas & Richard A. Bierschbach, “Integrating Remorse and Apology into Criminal Procedure” (2004) 114 Yale L. Rev. 114, 114.

Robert D. Sloane, “The Expressive Capacity of International Punishment: the Limits of the National Law Analogy and the Potential of International Criminal Law” (2007) 43 Stan. J. Int’l L. 39, 86; Susan Sarnoff, “Restoring Justice to the Community: A Realistic Goal?” (2001) 65-JUN Fed. Probation 33, 34.

Gillian Lester, “Can Joe the Plumber Support Redistribution? Law, Social Preferences, and Sustainable Policy Design” (2011) 64 Tax L. Rev. 313, 373. See Martha Minow, “Education for Co-existence” (2002) 44 Ariz. L. Rev. 1, 13–15 (discussing the relatively successful integration experimental program in Israel for Jews and Palestinian Arab).

Mathew Mathews, “Negotiating Christianity with Other Religions: The Views of Christian Clergymen in Singapore” in Lai Ah Eng ed., Religious Diversity in Singapore (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008) at 571, 581–582.

Gillian Lester, “Can Joe the Plumber Support Redistribution? Law, Social Preferences, and Sustainable Policy Design” (2011) 64 Tax L. Rev. at 373.

Stephanos Bibas & Richard A. Bierschbach, “Integrating Remorse and Apology into Criminal Procedure” (2004) 114 Yale L. Rev. at 143.

Senia Febrica, “Securitizing Terrorism in Southeast Asia: Accounting for the Varying Responses of Singapore and Indonesia” (2010) 50(3) Asian Survey at 573–581; Tey Tsun Hang, “Excluding Religion from Politics and Enforcing Religious Harmony – Singapore-Style” (2008) 2008 S.J.L.S. at 120–125.

Russell Adams, “Tensions still on boil in mosque fight” Wall Street Journal (13 September 2010) at A5; Jess Bravin & Brent Kendall, “Supreme court wades into funeral protests” Wall Street Journal (9 March 2010) at A2.

Supra II.B.2.a & II.B.2.d.

Ang Peng Hwa, “All S’poreans have role, not just leaders” The Straits Times (11 March 2010).

Li-ann Thio, “Constitutional ‘Soft’ Law and Management of Religious Liberty and Order: The 2003 Declaration on Religious Harmony” (2004) S.J.L.S. at 423; Li-ann Thio, “Control, Co-optation and Co-operation: Managing Religious Harmony in Singapore’s Multi-ethnic, Quasi-Secular State” (2006) 33 Hastings Const. L.Q. 239.

Li-ann Thio, “Relational Constitutionalism and the Management of Religious Disputes: the Singapore ‘Secularism with a Soul’ Model” (2012) Oxford J. L. and Religion at 22–24; Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 513.

Infra V.D.

Tey Tsun Hang, “Excluding Religion from Politics and Enforcing Religious Harmony – Singapore-Style” (2008) 2008 S.J.L.S. at 137; Li-ann Thio, “Control, Co-optation and Co-operation: Managing Religious Harmony in Singapore’s Multi-ethnic, Quasi-Secular State” (2006) 33 Hastings Const. L.Q. at 233.

Supra III.A.

Alex Tan, “Double standards: In sedition case and DBS charity tie-up” The Straits Times (9 December 2008) (citing examples of the Da Vinci Code and Richard Dawkin’s The God Delusion and arguing that “it is disheartening that this action [of maintaining the fragile religious balance] is not applied universally to all. There seems to be a greater tolerance of ‘attacks’ on Christianity than other major religions”). Although it is worth noting that Martin Scorsese’s film, The Last Temptation of Christ, was previously banned in Singapore for offending Christian’s sensitivities: Eugene K. B. Tan, “Keeping God in Place: The Management of Religion in Singapore” in Lai Ah Eng ed., Religious Diversity in Singapore (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008) at 67.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 505. See also Li-ann Thio, “Relational Constitutionalism and the Management of Religious Disputes: the Singapore ‘Secularism with a Soul’ Model” (2012) Oxford J. L. and Religion at 20.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 512. See also Li-ann Thio, “Relational Constitutionalism and the Management of Religious Disputes: the Singapore ‘Secularism with a Soul’ Model” (2012) Oxford J. L. and Religion at 20.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 512 (“[l]eaders of majority religious groups must demonstrate a sense of proportion, tolerance and forgiveness, towards leaders from minority religions who commit acts or make statements they find offensive, but who show genuine contribution”).

Li-ann Thio, “Relational Constitutionalism and the Management of Religious Disputes: the Singapore ‘Secularism with a Soul’ Model” (2012) Oxford J. L. and Religion at 1 nn. 1 & 19. See also Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 503 (“The response of representatives of majority religious groups.”).

One possible reason is that she was merely following the categorisation used in the table in the executive summary of the Singapore census 2010, which has a category “Buddhism/Taoism” with a sub-categories of “Buddhism” and “Taoism.” Other religions such as “Christianity”, “Islam” exist as independent category without any sub-category: Singapore Department of Statistics, Census of Population 2010 Statistical Release 1: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion (2011) at 13. No particular reason or significance is attached to this categorisation by the census report. In the actual table, “Buddhism” and “Taoism” are independent categories, with “Taoism” including traditional Chinese beliefs: Ibid., at 154–155.

Jaime Koh & Stephanie Ho, Culture and Customs of Singapore and Malaysia (Greenwood Press, 2009) at 32; Joseph B. Tamney & Riaz Hassan, Religious Switching in Singapore: A Study of Religious Mobility (Select Books, 1987) at 6.

Unlike the Pastor Rony Tan incident, the Buddhist Federations was not involved in Pastor Mark Ng incident. Pastor Mark Ng only went to the Taoist Federations to apologise.

Singapore Department of Statistics, Census of Population 2010 Statistical Release 1: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion (2011) at 16.

Ibid., at 159–160.

Singapore Department of Statistics, Census of Population 2010 Statistical Release 2: Households and Housing (2011) at xi.

Leow Bee Geok, Census of Population 2000: Advance Data Release (2001) at 38.

John Clammer, The Sociology of Singapore Religion: Studies in Christianity and Chinese Culture (Chopmen, 1991) at 25; Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng, State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a Reformist Buddhism in Singapore (Eastern Universities Press, 2003) at 269.

Singapore Department of Statistics, Census of Population 2010 Statistical Release 1: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion (2011) at 16.

Ibid., at 159–160.

Leow Bee Geok, Census of Population 2000: Advance Data Release (2001) at 38–40. The underrepresentation is even more severe in the 1960s and 1970s: John Clammer, Singapore: Ideology Society Culture (Chopmen, 1985) at 122–123.

With a population ratio of 10.9%, Taoists only made up 5.3% of those holding university degrees and 6.4% of those residing in private property. Buddhists, with 33.3% of the population, made up 23.6% of those holding university degrees and 11.5% of those residing in private property: Singapore Department of Statistics, Census of Population 2010 Statistical Release 1: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion (2011) at 16 & 159–160.

See Li-ann Thio, “Recent Constitutional Development: of Shadows and Whips, Race, Rifts and Rights, Terror and Tudungs, Women and Wrongs” (2002) 2002 S.J.L.S. 328, 329–334 (discussing Singapore parliamentary system).

Sam Holmes, “In Singapore, faith debate simmers as election nears” Wall Street Journal (7 May 2011) at A9.

Ibid.; “Li zongli: Zhengfu juebu yunxu guanyuan zhongjiao xingyang yingxiang zhengce [PM Lee: The government absolutely does not permit the religious faith of government officials to affect policy]” Lianhe Zaobao (17 April 2011) at 10.

Mathew Mathews, “Accommodating Relationship: The Church and State in Singapore” in Julius Bautista & Francis Khek Gee Lim eds., Christianity and the State in Asia (Routledge, 2009) at 187; Jean DeBernardi, “Asia’s Antioch: Prayer and Proselytism in Singapore” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 257.

Lydia Lim, “Religion should help people cope with change: PM” The Straits Times (23 June 2003); Li Xueying & Keith Lin, “Does god get in the way of social cohesion” The Straits Times (21 October 2006).

Eugene K. B. Tan, “Keeping God in Place: The Management of Religion in Singapore” in Lai Ah Eng ed., Religious Diversity in Singapore (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008) at 69; Li-ann Thio, “Control, Co-optation and Co-operation: Managing Religious Harmony in Singapore’s Multi-ethnic, Quasi-Secular State” (2006) 33 Hastings Const. L.Q. at 224; Kenneth Paul Tan, “Pragmatic Secularism, Civil Religion, and Political Legitimacy in Singapore” in Michael Heng Siam-Heng & Ten Chin Liew eds., State and Secularism: Perspectives from Asia (World Scientific Publishing, 2010) at 339, 343.

Jason Tan, “The Politics of Religious Knowledge in Singapore Secondary Schools” in Catherine Cornbleth ed., Curriculum Politics, Policy, Practice: Cases in Comparative Context (State University of New York Press, 2000) at 77, 97 n.1.

Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng, State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a Reformist Buddhism in Singapore (Eastern Universities Press, 2003) at 282 (the first Buddhist mission secondary school was set up in 1984 to complement the existing two Buddhist mission primary schools); Joseph B. Tamney & Riaz Hassan, Religious Switching in Singapore: A Study of Religious Mobility (Select Books, 1987) at 43.

Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (1999 Rev. Ed), art. 15(4); Li Xueying & Ken Kwek, “Say Aaah…men” The Straits Times (15 October 2005).

Jason Tan, “The Politics of Religious Knowledge in Singapore Secondary Schools” in Catherine Cornbleth ed., Curriculum Politics, Policy, Practice: Cases in Comparative Context (State University of New York Press, 2000) at 80; Trevor Ling, “Religion” in Kernial Singh Sandhu & Paul Wheatley eds., Management of Success: the Moulding of Modern Singapore (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1989) at 692, 701. The Ministry of Education saw the need to “remind” missions schools in 1992 of the prohibition against compulsion in religious services: Janadas Devan, “Secularism – Not from theory but bloody history” The Straits Times (24 November 2007).

Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism, and Competition in Singapore Society (Koninklijke Brill, 2007) at 102; Joseph B. Tamney & Riaz Hassan, Religious Switching in Singapore: A Study of Religious Mobility (Select Books, 1987) at 12–13; John Clammer, Singapore: Ideology Society Culture (Chopmen, 1985) at 38; Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng, State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a Reformist Buddhism in Singapore (Eastern Universities Press, 2003) at 268.

Tan-Chow May Ling, Pentecostal Theology for the Twenty-First Century: Engaging with Multi-Faith Singapore (Ashgate, 2007) at 10.

“Taoists Agree on Common Festive Day” The Straits Times (30 April 2001) at H3.

Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism, and Competition in Singapore Society (Koninklijke Brill, 2007) at 249; Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng, State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a Reformist Buddhism in Singapore (Eastern Universities Press, 2003) at 196–197. For general discussion of the curriculum, see Li-ann Thio, “Control, Co-optation and Co-operation: Managing Religious Harmony in Singapore’s Multi-ethnic, Quasi-Secular State” (2006) 33 Hastings Const. L.Q. at 219–221; Jason Tan, “The Politics of Religious Knowledge in Singapore Secondary Schools” in Catherine Cornbleth ed., Curriculum Politics, Policy, Practice: Cases in Comparative Context (State University of New York Press, 2000).

Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “The Protection of Minorities and the Constitution: A Judicious Balance?” in Li-ann Thio & Kevin Y.L. Tan eds., Evolution of a Revolution: Forty Years of the Singapore Constitution (Routledge-Cavendish, 2009) at 234, 247.

Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “Seditious in Singapore! Free Speech and the Offence of Promoting Ill-Will and Hostility Between Different Racial Groups” (2011) S.J.L.S. at 364–365.

Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “The Protection of Minorities and the Constitution: A Judicious Balance?” in Li-ann Thio & Kevin Y.L. Tan eds., Evolution of a Revolution: Forty Years of the Singapore Constitution (Routledge-Cavendish, 2009) at 247; Ahmad Nizam Abbas, “The fine balance of civil and syariah law in Singapore” The Straits Times (17 February 2008); Li-ann Thio, “‘She’s a Woman But She Acts Very Fast’: Women, Religion and Law in Singapore” in Amanda Whiting & Carolyn Evans eds., Mixed Blessings: Laws, Religions, and Women’s Rights in the Asia-Pacific Region (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2006) at 241, 267–269.

Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “The Protection of Minorities and the Constitution: A Judicious Balance?” in Li-ann Thio & Kevin Y.L. Tan eds., Evolution of a Revolution: Forty Years of the Singapore Constitution (Routledge-Cavendish, 2009) at 254; Li-ann Thio, “‘She’s a Woman But She Acts Very Fast’: Women, Religion and Law in Singapore” in Amanda Whiting & Carolyn Evans eds., Mixed Blessings: Laws, Religions, and Women’s Rights in the Asia-Pacific Region (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2006) at 268. The exemption is subject to meeting government education standards for secular subjects such as English, Maths and Sciences. For a discussion of the historical evolution of Madrasah, see Sa’eda Buang, “Religious Education as Locus of Curriculum: A Brief Inquiry into Madrasah Curriculum in Singapore” in Lai Ah Eng ed., Religious Diversity in Singapore (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008) at 342.

Ahmad Osman, “Boosting integration in aftermath of tudung row” The Straits Times (10 February 2002); Li-ann Thio, “Recent Constitutional Development: of Shadows and Whips, Race, Rifts and Rights, Terror and Tudungs, Women and Wrongs” (2002) S.J.L.S. at 364; Li-ann Thio, “Control, Co-optation and Co-operation: Managing Religious Harmony in Singapore’s Multi-ethnic, Quasi-Secular State” (2006) 33 Hastings Const. L.Q. at 214–215.

Li-ann Thio, “Constitutional ‘Soft’ Law and Management of Religious Liberty and Order: The 2003 Declaration on Religious Harmony” (2004) S.J.L.S. at 428; Li-ann Thio, “Control, Co-optation and Co-operation: Managing Religious Harmony in Singapore’s Multi-ethnic, Quasi-Secular State” (2006) 33 Hastings Const. L.Q. at 218; John Clammer, Singapore: Ideology Society Culture (Chopmen, 1985) at 45.

Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “The Protection of Minorities and the Constitution: A Judicious Balance?” in Li-ann Thio & Kevin Y.L. Tan eds., Evolution of a Revolution: Forty Years of the Singapore Constitution (Routledge-Cavendish, 2009) at 247; Li-ann Thio, “‘She’s a Woman But She Acts Very Fast’: Women, Religion and Law in Singapore” in Amanda Whiting & Carolyn Evans eds., Mixed Blessings: Laws, Religions, and Women’s Rights in the Asia-Pacific Region (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2006) at 268; Eugene K. B. Tan, “Keeping God in Place: The Management of Religion in Singapore” in Lai Ah Eng ed., Religious Diversity in Singapore (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008) at 62.

Braema Mathi, “UN convention on women: Govt has reservations” The Straits Times (11 July 2001) at H10; Li-ann Thio, “Control, Co-optation and Co-operation: Managing Religious Harmony in Singapore’s Multi-ethnic, Quasi-Secular State” (2006) 33 Hastings Const. L.Q. at 216; Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “The Protection of Minorities and the Constitution: A Judicious Balance?” in Li-ann Thio & Kevin Y.L. Tan eds., Evolution of a Revolution: Forty Years of the Singapore Constitution (Routledge-Cavendish, 2009) at 255–256; Li-ann Thio, “‘She’s a Woman But She Acts Very Fast’: Women, Religion and Law in Singapore” in Amanda Whiting & Carolyn Evans eds., Mixed Blessings: Laws, Religions, and Women’s Rights in the Asia-Pacific Region (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2006) at 270–271.

Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “The Protection of Minorities and the Constitution: A Judicious Balance?” in Li-ann Thio & Kevin Y.L. Tan eds., Evolution of a Revolution: Forty Years of the Singapore Constitution (Routledge-Cavendish, 2009) at 254–255.

Li-ann Thio, “‘She’s a Woman But She Acts Very Fast’: Women, Religion and Law in Singapore” in Amanda Whiting & Carolyn Evans eds., Mixed Blessings: Laws, Religions, and Women’s Rights in the Asia-Pacific Region (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2006) at 253 (the colonial Straits Settlement Court of Appeal in 1911 recognised the religious nature of Chinese polygamous marriage).

Matthias Mahlmann, “Free Speech and the Rights of Religion” in András Sajó ed., Censorial Sensitivities: Free Speech and Religion in a Fundamentalist World (Eleven International Publishing, 2007) at 41, 67; Ruti Teitel, “Militating Constitutional Democracy: Comparative Perspectives” in András Sajó ed., Censorial Sensitivities: Free Speech and Religion in a Fundamentalist World (Eleven International Publishing, 2007) at 71, 77.

Vincent D. Rougeau, Christians in the American Empire: Faith and Citizenship in the New World Order (Oxford University Press, 2008) at 101–109; Neera Chandhoke, Beyond Secularism: The Rights of Religious Minorities (Oxford University Press, 1999) at 143–165.

See Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “The Protection of Minorities and the Constitution: A Judicious Balance?” in Li-ann Thio & Kevin Y.L. Tan eds., Evolution of a Revolution: Forty Years of the Singapore Constitution (Routledge-Cavendish, 2009) at 240–248 (discussing the constitutional provision).

Zhong Zewei, “Racial and Religious Hate Speech in Singapore: Management, Democracy, and the Victim’s Perspective” (2009) 27 Sing. L. Rev. at 52–53 & 56.

Muslims made up 13 of the 99 members of parliament: <http://www.parliament.gov.sg/list-of-current-mps> (last visited 20 July 2012).

Available at: <http://www.cabinet.gov.sg/content/cabinet/appointments.html> (last visited 20 July 2012).

Supra II.B.

Jean DeBernardi, “Asia’s Antioch: Prayer and Proselytism in Singapore” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 256–257; Tan-Chow May Ling, Pentecostal Theology for the Twenty-First Century: Engaging with Multi-Faith Singapore (Ashgate, 2007) at 22; Li Xueying, “Reaping a rich harvest of converts” The Straits Times (16 July 2005); Mathew Mathews, “Negotiating Christianity with Other Religions: The Views of Christian Clergymen in Singapore” in Lai Ah Eng ed., Religious Diversity in Singapore (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008) at 585–590.

Jean DeBernardi, “Asia’s Antioch: Prayer and Proselytism in Singapore” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 257; Mathew Mathews, “Negotiating Christianity with Other Religions: The Views of Christian Clergymen in Singapore” in Lai Ah Eng ed., Religious Diversity in Singapore (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008) at 585–586. For observations and critique of the evolution of American Christians’ attitude towards missions and proselytisation, see Brad A. Greenberg, “How missionaries lost their chariots of fire” Wall Street Journal (2 July 2010) at W9.

Mathew Mathews, “Accommodating Relationship: The Church and State in Singapore” in Julius Bautista & Francis Khek Gee Lim eds., Christianity and the State in Asia (Routledge, 2009) at 188; Tan-Chow May Ling, Pentecostal Theology for the Twenty-First Century: Engaging with Multi-Faith Singapore (Ashgate, 2007) at 21–23.

Edmond Chua, “Bishop says preaches must watch sermon content, presentation” Christian Post (Sing. ed.) (23 September 2010), online: <http://sg.christianpost.com/dbase.php?cat=church&id=2594> (last visited 1 February 2013); “Christianity: Winning Others or Helping Others Win?” Christian Post (Sing. ed.) (28 June 2010), online: <http://sg.christianpost.com/dbase/editorial/732/section/1.htm> (last visited 1 February 2013).

Nathanael Ng, “Be sensitive, but do not compromise: Pastor” Christian Post (Sing. ed.) (23 February 2010), online <http://sg.christianpost.com/dbase.php?cat=church&id=2444> (last visited 1 February 2013) (Cornerstone Community Church senior pastor Rev. Yang Tuck Yoong: “When preaching the Gospel, we must not dilute, adulterate or compromise on the potency of the Word; because it’s Truth,”); Roland Chia, “Christians do not hold that all religions are the same” Christian Post (Sing. ed.) (17 February 2010), online: <http://sg.christianpost.com/dbase/editorial/593/section/1.htm> (last visited 1 February 2013); Tan Cheng Huat, “What would Jesus do (WWJD)?” Christian Post (Sing. ed.) (15 March 2010), online: <http://sg.christianpost.com/dbase/editorial/604/section/1.htm> (last visited 1 February 2013) (“A series of happenings in recent weeks [Pastor Rony incident is in February 2010] drives me to rethink if our faith has reached such a point where the fear of imposing our views on others has gradually led us to a state where we do not profess clearly what we believe in.”).

Supra IV.A.

Supra IV.A.

Supra V.A.

Kevin Y.L. Tan & Li-ann Thio, Constitutional Law in Malaysia and Singapore (Butterworths, 1997) at 876; Li-ann Thio, “Constitutional ‘Soft’ Law and Management of Religious Liberty and Order: The 2003 Declaration on Religious Harmony” (2004) S.J.L.S. at 422.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 490 & n. 38.

Barry A. Kosmin & Ariela Keysar, Religion in a Free Market (Paramount Market Publishing, 2006) at 11.

Paul Harvey, “Proselytization” in Philip Goff & Paul Harvey eds., Religion and American Culture (University of North Carolina Press, 2004) at 39, 41–42. For a discussion of the religious tenets and worldview of Sierra Leone indigenous religions, see Prince Sorie Conteh, Traditionalists, Muslims, and Christians in Africa (Cambria Press, 2009) at 19–62.

Deirdre Meintel, “When There is No Conversion: Spiritualists and Personal Religious Change” (2007) 49(1) Anthropologica 149, 149.

Jeff Spinner-Haley, “Hinduism, Christianity, and Liberal Religious Toleration” (2005) 33(1) Political Theory 28, 37; Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng, State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a Reformist Buddhism in Singapore (Eastern Universities Press, 2003) at 137; Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism, and Competition in Singapore Society (Koninklijke Brill, 2007) 152–153.

Grace Y. Kao, “The Logic of Anti-proselytization, Revisited” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 83–84; Paul Harvey, “Proselytization” in Philip Goff & Paul Harvey eds., Religion and American Culture (University of North Carolina Press, 2004) at 56–57.

Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng, State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a Reformist Buddhism in Singapore (Eastern Universities Press, 2003) at 137; Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism, and Competition in Singapore Society (Koninklijke Brill, 2007) at 152–153).

Joseph B. Tamney & Riaz Hassan, Religious Switching in Singapore: A Study of Religious Mobility (Select Books, 1987) at 43.

“The Way of the Future” The Straits Times (19 June 2010).

Arti Mulchand, “Religion: The big switch” The Straits Times (9 August 2008) (“conversion to Hinduism is ‘downright impossible’, says the Hindu Endowments Board on its website. It is a faith one is born into, though there are a minority who choose to take on and practice the tenets of Hinduism”).

Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng, State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a Reformist Buddhism in Singapore (Eastern Universities Press, 2003) at 137.

R. Andrew Chesnut, Competitive Spirits: Latin America’s New Religious Economy (Oxford University Press, 2003) at 11; Barry A. Kosmin & Ariela Keysar, Religion in a Free Market (Paramount Market Publishing, 2006) at 170–171.

R. Andrew Chesnut, Competitive Spirits: Latin America’s New Religious Economy (Oxford University Press, 2003) at 11.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 515.

Jean-Francois Mayer, “Conflicts over Proselytism: An Overview and Comparative Perspective” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 35, 46–48; Rachelle M. Scott, “Promoting World Peace through Inner Peace: The Discourses and Technologies of Dhammakāya Proselytization” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 231, 235–236.

Stephen C. Berkwitz, “Religious Conflict and the Politics of Conversion in Sri Lanka” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 203–204; Thomas Robbins, “Notes on the Contemporary Peril to Religious Freedom” in James A. Beckford & James T. Richardson eds., Challenging Religion (Routledge, 2003) at 71, 73; Tessa Bartholomeusz, “First Among Equals: Buddhism and the Sri Lankan State” in Ian Harris ed., Buddhism and Politics in Twentieth-Century Asia (Pinter, 1999) at 173, 176–177.

Supra III.A.

Chee Kiong Tong, Rationalizing Religion: Religious Conversion, Revivalism, and Competition in Singapore Society (Koninklijke Brill, 2007) at 192 & 267–268; John Clammer, The Sociology of Singapore Religion: Studies in Christianity and Chinese Culture (Chopmen, 1991) at 74–77; Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng, State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a Reformist Buddhism in Singapore (Eastern Universities Press, 2003) at 283.

Supra notes 289–293 and accompany text.

Geoffrey R. Stone et al., Constitutional Law, 5th ed. (Aspen Publishers, 2005) at 1054–1056; William P. Marshall, “Truth and Religion Clauses” (1994) 43 DePaul L. Rev. at 256; Lawrence Rosenthal, “First Amendment Investigations and the Inescapable Pragmatism of the Common Law of Free Speech” (2011) 86 Ind. L.J. at 61–62 & 61 n. 288; Steven G. Gey, “The First Amendment and the Dissemination of Socially Worthless Untruths” (2008) 36 Fla. St. U.L. Rev. at 6–9.

Daniel O. Conkle, “Religious Truth, Pluralism, and Secularization: The Shaking Foundations of American Religious Liberty” (2011) 32 Cardozo L. Rev. at 1757–1762; Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 493; M.H. Ogilvie, “Between Liberté and Égalité: Religion and the State in Canada” in Peter Radan et al. eds., Law and Religion: God, the State and the Common Law (Routledge, 2005) at 154; William P. Marshall, “Truth and Religion Clauses” (1994) 43 DePaul L. Rev. at 255–256.

Sarah Claerhout & Jakob De Roover, “Conversion of the World: Proselytization in India and the Universalization of Christianity” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 53, 65. For a discussion on the exclusivity under Islam, see Heather J. Sharkey, “Muslim Apostasy, Christian Conversion, and Religious Freedom in Egypt: A Study of American Missionaries, Western Imperialism, and Human Rights Agendas” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 139, 141.

Sarah Claerhout & Jakob De Roover, “Conversion of the World: Proselytization in India and the Universalization of Christianity” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 65. See generally S.A. Nigosian, World Religions: A Historical Approach, 3rd ed. (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000) at 414–419 (discussing how the different religions differ in their conceptions of religious path and goals).

P.N. Bhagwati, “Religion and Secularism Under the Indian Constitution” in Robert D. Baird ed., Religion and Law in Independent India, 2nd ed. (Manohar, 2005) at 35, 39; Tan Chin Liew, “Secularism and Its Limits” in Michael Heng Siam-Heng & Ten Chin Liew eds., State and Secularism: Perspectives from Asia (World Scientific Publishing, 2010) at 7, 18; Daniel O. Conkle, “Religious Truth, Pluralism, and Secularization: The Shaking Foundations of American Religious Liberty” (2011) 32 Cardozo L. Rev. at 1764; Jeff Spinner-Haley, “Hinduism, Christianity, and Liberal Religious Toleration” (2005) 33(1) Political Theory at 37.

P.N. Bhagwati, “Religion and Secularism Under the Indian Constitution” in Robert D. Baird ed., Religion and Law in Independent India, 2nd ed. (Manohar, 2005) at 39; Tan Chin Liew, “Secularism and Its Limits” in Michael Heng Siam-Heng & Ten Chin Liew eds., State and Secularism: Perspectives from Asia (World Scientific Publishing, 2010) at 18.

Daniel O. Conkle, “Religious Truth, Pluralism, and Secularization: The Shaking Foundations of American Religious Liberty” (2011) 32 Cardozo L. Rev. at 1764–1765 (noting how Buddhism’s de-emphasis of universal truth contributes to its more tolerant attitude towards other faith).

See generally Francisca Cho, “Leaping into the Boundless: A Daoist Reading of Comparative Religious Ethics” (1998) 26(1) The Journal of Religious Ethics 139 (discussing and noting Taoism nuanced approach towards truth, reflecting at page 163 “[T]aoist view of reality which avers that knowledge is never fixed.”).

Sarah Claerhout & Jakob De Roover, “Conversion of the World: Proselytization in India and the Universalization of Christianity” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 63–64 (“Islam and Christianity are each other’s rivals in the restoration of divine truth, while the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain traditions are idolatry or false religion.”); Tan-Chow May Ling, Pentecostal Theology for the Twenty-First Century: Engaging with Multi-Faith Singapore (Ashgate, 2007) at 22–23; Jean DeBernardi, “Asia’s Antioch: Prayer and Proselytism in Singapore” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 265; Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng, State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a Reformist Buddhism in Singapore (Eastern Universities Press, 2003) at 272–277.

Sarah Claerhout & Jakob De Roover, “Conversion of the World: Proselytization in India and the Universalization of Christianity” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 64–65.

Singapore Department of Statistics, Census of Population 2010 Statistical Release 1: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion (2011) at 13.

Grace Chua, “Leaders of Buddhist, Taoist groups urge restraint” The Straits Times (9 February 2010).

“We Need to Focus More on Common Spaces” The Straits Times (21 October 2006).

“Foster Harmony” The Straits Times (3 May 2009).

William P. Marshall, “Truth and Religion Clauses” (1994) 43 DePaul L. Rev. at 265.

Sarah Claerhout & Jakob De Roover, “Conversion of the World: Proselytization in India and the Universalization of Christianity” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 69.

Li-ann Thio, “Control, Co-optation and Co-operation: Managing Religious Harmony in Singapore’s Multi-ethnic, Quasi-Secular State” (2006) 33 Hastings Const. L.Q. at 202.

Jean DeBernardi, “Asia’s Antioch: Prayer and Proselytism in Singapore” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 261.

Michael Hill, “The Making of a Moral Panic: Religion and State in Singapore” in James A. Beckford & James T. Richardson eds., Challenging Religion (Routledge, 2003) at 114, 125. See also Li-ann Thio, “Control, Co-optation and Co-operation: Managing Religious Harmony in Singapore’s Multi-ethnic, Quasi-Secular State” (2006) 33 Hastings Const. L.Q. at 202.

E.g., Drew Hinshaw, “Nigeria torn by rising religious violence” Wall Street Journal (12 January 2012) at A12; Patrick Barta, “Suicide attack strikes Church in Indonesia” Wall Street Journal (26 September 2011) at A10.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 493.

Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “Seditious in Singapore! Free Speech and the Offence of Promoting Ill-Will and Hostility Between Different Racial Groups” (2011) S.J.L.S. at 371–372.

Ibid., at 365–372.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 488.

One material distributed in the Ong Kian Cheong case stated that there is a “very dangerous religion called ‘Islam’” that is “spreading into our neighborhood” (emphasis original): Jack T. Chick, Little Bride (Chick Publications, 2004), online: <http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/1054/1054_01.asp> (last visited 1 February 2013).

Mathew Mathews, “Accommodating Relationship: The Church and State in Singapore” in Julius Bautista & Francis Khek Gee Lim eds., Christianity and the State in Asia (Routledge, 2009) at 188; Tan-Chow May Ling, Pentecostal Theology for the Twenty-First Century: Engaging with Multi-Faith Singapore (Ashgate, 2007) at 21–23.

Mathew Mathews, “Accommodating Relationship: The Church and State in Singapore” in Julius Bautista & Francis Khek Gee Lim eds., Christianity and the State in Asia (Routledge, 2009) at 188.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 493.

Mathew Mathews, “Negotiating Christianity with Other Religions: The Views of Christian Clergymen in Singapore” in Lai Ah Eng ed., Religious Diversity in Singapore (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008) at 581–582; Li Xueying, “Clergy ‘wary of inter-faith talks’” The Straits Times (3 September 2008).

Tan-Chow May Ling, Pentecostal Theology for the Twenty-First Century: Engaging with Multi-Faith Singapore (Ashgate, 2007) at 21.

Jean DeBernardi, “Asia’s Antioch: Prayer and Proselytism in Singapore” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 261.

Andy Ho, “Interfaith dialogue: Why some clam up” The Straits Times (18 September 2008); Mathew Mathews, “Accommodating Relationship: The Church and State in Singapore” in Julius Bautista & Francis Khek Gee Lim eds., Christianity and the State in Asia (Routledge, 2009) at 193.

For a detailed discussion of the activities (including political activities) of Focus of the Family in the US: see Dan Gilgoff, The Jesus Machine: How James Dobson, Focus on the Family and Evangelical America are Winning the Culture War (St Martin’s Press, 2007).

Grace Chua, “DBS’ charity tie-up draws flak” The Straits Times (5 December 2008).

Ibid.

E.g., Edmond Chua, “Militant secularists demand Rony Tan’s arrest” Christian Post (Sing. ed.) (11 February 2010), online: <http://sg.christianpost.com/dbase.php?cat=church&id=2563> (last visited 1 February 2013); Li-ann Thio, “Control, Co-optation and Co-operation: Managing Religious Harmony in Singapore’s Multi-ethnic, Quasi-Secular State” (2006) 33 Hastings Const. L.Q. at 225 n. 170.

In the press statement, the Taoist charity emphasised that the society is “happy that people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds feel comfortable using our services,” “aim[s] to provide culturally-sensitive services that our clients’ values and beliefs,” and “all our Centres and Homes observe equally the festivals of Christmas, Hari Raya, Deepavali, Confucius’ birthday, Vesak Day and Lao Zi’s birthday”: “Society aims to serve singaporeans of all backgrounds” The Straits Times (22 December 2008).

Asad Latif, “Warriors at the front line of tolerance” The Straits Times (15 November 2004) (Buddhist Lodge donated a third of its $3 million raised fund to Muslim, Hindu and Christian organisations); Yap Kim Hao, “Hongbao giveaway boosts inter-faith cooperation” The Straits Times (14 January 2003) (“Buddhist Lodge sought the participation of Jamiyah Singapore and Hindu Endowments Board in the planning and distribution” of hongbao – red packets containing money); Chin Soo Fang, “Monk’s $ 100,000 gift to Catholics” The Straits Times (16 May 1999) at 3 (donating to the Catholic Canossian Missions, and other Muslim and Hindu groups).

“3,200 Gather in a Festive Feast for All” The Straits Times (15 February 1999) at 1 (Food were blessed by religious leaders from seven major faiths.).

Mak Mun San, “Happy meals” The Straits Times (9 November 2003).

“Religion Still Relevant, Says President” The Straits Times (19 May 2000) at 3.

Zakir Hussain, “Mosques feed 1,000 needy S’poreans” The Straits Times (14 July 2008) (Muslim organisations providing vegetarian option in the distribution of free meals).

Enon Mansor & Nur Amali Ibrahim, “Muslim Organizations and Mosque as Social Service Providers” Lai Ah Eng ed., in Religious Diversity in Singapore (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008) at 459, 464–470.

Edmond Chua, “Christians must respect beliefs of non-Christians, theologian stress” Christian Post (Sing. ed.), (28 April 2010), online <http://sg.christianpost.com/dbase.php?cat=education&id=787> (last visited 1 February 2013); “What Others Say About the Incident” The Straits Times (10 February 2010).

Clarissa Oon, “Talk and let live” The Straits Times (3 February 2010).

Supra V.B. See generally Mathew Mathews, “Negotiating Christianity with Other Religions: The Views of Christian Clergymen in Singapore” in Lai Ah Eng ed., Religious Diversity in Singapore (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008).

Edmond Chua, “Bishop says preaches must watch sermon content, presentation” Christian Post (Sing. ed.) (23 September 2010), online: <http://sg.christianpost.com/dbase.php?cat=church&id=2594> (last visited 1 February 2013); “Christianity: Winning Others or Helping Others Win?” Christian Post (Sing. ed.) (28 June 2010), online: <http://sg.christianpost.com/dbase/editorial/732/section/1.htm> (last visited 1 February 2013).

Mathew Mathews, “Accommodating Relationship: The Church and State in Singapore” in Julius Bautista & Francis Khek Gee Lim eds., Christianity and the State in Asia (Routledge, 2009) at 193.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 513.

Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “Seditious in Singapore! Free Speech and the Offence of Promoting Ill-Will and Hostility Between Different Racial Groups” (2011) S.J.L.S. at 354; Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 493.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 488.

Arvind Sharma, Problematizing Religious Freedom (Springer, 2011) at 221; Thomas F. Farr, “The Widow’s Torment: International Religious Freedom and American National Security in the 21st Century” (2009) 57 Drake L. Rev. at 862; Kyriakos N. Kyriazopoulos, “Proselytization in Greece: Criminal Offense vs. Religious Persuasion and Equality” (2004) 20 J.L. & Religion at 169.

See Dian Abdul Hamed Shah & Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani, “Freedom of Religion in Malaysia: A Tangled Web of Legal, Political, and Social Issues” (2011) 36 N.C. J. Int’l L. & Com. Reg. 647, 664–669 (discussing the conversion restrictions in Malaysia).

Arvind Sharma, Problematizing Religious Freedom (Springer, 2011); Heather J. Sharkey, “Muslim Apostasy, Christian Conversion, and Religious Freedom in Egypt: A Study of American Missionaries, Western Imperialism, and Human Rights Agendas” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 141.

Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “Seditious in Singapore! Free Speech and the Offence of Promoting Ill-Will and Hostility Between Different Racial Groups” (2011) S.J.L.S. at 365–366.

C.f. Jean DeBernardi, “Asia’s Antioch: Prayer and Proselytism in Singapore” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 258 (“Although apostasy is not considered to be an offense in Singapore, nonetheless on conversion Singaporean Malay Christians reportedly experience social stigma and ostracism.”).

Stephen C. Berkwitz, “Religious Conflict and the Politics of Conversion in Sri Lanka” in Rosalind I.J. Hackett ed., Proselytization Revisited: Rights Talk, Free Markets and Culture Wars (Equinox, 2008) at 216; Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 510.

See Olmedo-Bustos v Chile, Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Ser. C) No. 73 (2001). C.f. Anat Scolnicov, The Right to Religious Freedom in International Law (Routledge, 2011) at 195–196 (disagreeing with the court’s narrow interpretation of right to religious belief).

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 493; Thomas F. Farr, “The Widow’s Torment: International Religious Freedom and American National Security in the 21st Century” (2009) 57 Drake L. Rev. at 862.

Supra IV.A.

See Jaclyn Ling-Chien Neo, “Seditious in Singapore! Free Speech and the Offence of Promoting Ill-Will and Hostility Between Different Racial Groups” (2011) S.J.L.S. at 361–364.

Li-ann Thio, “Relational Constitutionalism and the Management of Religious Disputes: the Singapore ‘Secularism with a Soul’ Model” (2012) Oxford J. L. and Religion at 19–21; Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 504–505.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 505.

Ibid., at 513.

Ibid.

Li-ann Thio, “Relational Constitutionalism and the Management of Religious Disputes: the Singapore ‘Secularism with a Soul’ Model” (2012) Oxford J. L. and Religion at 19–20.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 493.

See Andrew Koppelman, “Corruption of Religion and the Establishment Clause” (2009) 50 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. at 1843 (discussing overlapping consensus as a political mechanism to cope with religious pluralism). See generally John Rawls, “The Idea of an Overlapping Consensus” (1987) 7(1) Oxford J. Legal Stud. 1.

Andrew Koppelman, “Corruption of Religion and the Establishment Clause” (2009) 50 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. at 1875–1876; Julia K. Stronks, Law, Religion, and Public Policy: A Commentary on First Amendment Jurisprudence (Lexington Books, 2002) at 40–41.

Li-ann Thio, “Contentious Liberty: Regulating Religious Propagation in a Multi-Religious Secular Democracy” (2010) S.J.L.S. at 489 (“[Religious propagation] may be justified on several grounds, resting on the premise that law considers a religion a good thing, deserving protection.”).

E.g., Li-ann Thio, “Between Eden and Armageddon: Navigating ‘Religion’ and ‘Politics’ in Singapore” (2009) 2009 S.J.L.S. 265, 379 (“this [exclusion of religious perspective in public debate] would discriminate against the more than 80% of Singaporeans with Singaporeans with religious affiliation in voting, taking part in elections and debating public issues.”); Vincent Chia Wei Meng, “Govt should consider carefully the moral value system of the majority before making decision” The Straits Times (26 July 2007), Online Forum (“According to Statistics Singapore, the majority of Singaporeans are not atheists, agnostics or secular humanists without religious affiliations… Within our multi-religious society, a common consensus on this issue can only be achieved by being mindful of the morality of the religious majority.”).

For two recent discussions on the political and legal status of non-religious persons, see Nelson Tebbe, “Nonbelievers” (2011) 97 Va. L. Rev. 1111 (arguing for a polyvalent approach towards non-believers where the courts’ handling of non-believers under religious freedom law should be context sensitive towards the different values and considerations animating the particular law); Caroline Mala Corbin, “Nonbelievers and Government Speech” (2012) 97 Iowa. L. Rev. 347 (arguing that government religious speech violates the Establishment Clause as such speech undermines the equality and liberty of nonbelievers).


Citation Information: Asian Journal of Comparative Law, ISSN (Online) 1932-0205, ISSN (Print) 2194-6078, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/asjcl-2013-0024.

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