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Asian Journal of Comparative Law

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2014: 0.176
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2014: 0.871
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2014: 0.318

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

Jianlin Chen
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Law, University of Hong Kong, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong
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Published Online: 2013-11-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/asjcl-2013-0024


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

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

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