Sublime beaches, turquoise waters, towering skyscrapers, spectacular hotels, Malaysia is the dream destination for tourists seeking luxury and exoticism. It’s also paradise for moderate Muslims, who live in harmony with other religions (Buddhists, Christians or animists). Here is the kingdom of “smiling Islam”, a happy and tolerant Islam.
A major centre for halal tourism, business and Islamic fashion week, Kuala-Lumpur, the country’s capital, is one of the most modern and attractive cities in the world. In Malaysia, Muslim women are free, dressed in the latest fashion and successful in their profession. They are artists, businesswomen or top-level sportswomen.
But in recent years, fundamentalists have been gaining ground. In some regions, Sharia law has made a comeback. The Islamic police are watching, corporal punishment has been restored, women are all veiled, Koranic schools are multiplying. Missionaries are even responsible for converting members of isolated communities to Islam, especially those of indigenous people in the forests.
On a daily basis, our teams filmed the fracture that splits the country in two. In Kuala Lumpur, we meet the greatest star of Malaysian music, an MMA fighter and some of those who defend minority rights. Over in the northern states, particularly Kelantan, the police and Islamic justice have radically transformed the landscape, in some cases dismissing the country’s fundamental identity.
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