Dhaka, Nov. 25 -- Malaysia's new prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, will be contending in parliament with a strengthened Islamist party that espouses a stricter interpretation of sharia Islamic law, a challenge to Anwar's vision of an inclusive society.

Anwar will likely face challenges from the Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), which emerged as one of the big winners in Malaysia's election last Saturday, risking deeper divisions in the diverse, multi-faith country.

Anwar, who is ethnic Malay and Muslim, addressed race and religion in his first news conference as prime minister, promising to uphold Islam as the official religion of the country and the rights of the ethnic Malay majority, while also safeguarding the rights of all.

PAS, long a ...