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Myanmar seeks input on religious conversion bill

– Myanmar’s government is seeking public suggestions on a controversial religious conversion bill that will require anyone who wants to convert to another religion to obtain permission.

The aim of the bill, published Tuesday in state-run newspapers, appears to be to prevent people from being coerced into changing religions. The draft says the purpose is to ensure freedom of religion and to make religious conversion transparent.

Under the proposed bill, anyone who forces others to convert faces at least one year in prison.

The bill comes at a time of deepening sectarian tensions between the Buddhist majority and Muslim minority. Violence between the two communities has left hundreds dead and force more than 100,000 people – mostly Muslims – to flee their homes.