KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 (Bernama) — Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak believes that proper teachings and being moderate are fundamental to Islam as part of how Malaysia is dealing with possible extremists in the society.
He said the government’s ability to uplift the social economic status by reducing a high poverty rate of 50 per cent in the 1960’s to 3.6 per cent now, apart from development and changes also contributed to the factor of success in curbing extremism.
“So you see the fruits of development actually lifting the state of social economic status of the people. First of all, if you look at the genesis of Islam in how it came to our part of the world, it was brought by Muslim traders from the Middle East and it was a peaceful conversion.
“So Islam has never really been associated with extremism and violence from day one,” he said when interviewed by Fareed Zakaria in his GPS programme aired by CNN, here Sunday night.
Najib said, however, once in a while extremists did exist whether they were in Malaysia or from a neighbouring country.
“We have to deal with it…and fortunately our security agencies, they are very, very good in taking pre-emptive actions using the Internal Security Act which detained people without trial.
“But it is not a sort of the nearest kind of punishment. We detain you, we try to re-educate you and if you accept that Islam is moderate and you shouldn’t resort to violence and extremism, then you will be released back to the society,” he said in the five-minute interview.
On whether Malaysia supports the United States’ military involvement in some parts of the world to curb extremism, Najib said ‘initially it was a no’ and he was quite frank about it.
“You cannot bomb extremism into submission. It is about the mixture of the hard and soft power of the United States which eventually won them more support in the Muslim world (rather) than using the military approach,” he said.
On the proposal for the controversial ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ in New York, Najib said it somehow had weakened America’s image in the Muslim world because it was a sense of the so-called phenomena of ‘Islamophobia’.
“It is a real concern to the Muslim world and I think Muslims sense that they are not so welcomed…and feel there is a change in the attitude of Americans towards Muslims, and it is important for us to get back on track,” he added.
I believe extremism in practising Islam teachings is not just in the form that leads to terrorism. It can be such other forms, even in political cause (that maybe misleading in certain conditions).
The cause of such problems nowadays even among muslims are understanding and tolerating to what can be tolerated and cannot be tolerated in Islam.
One of the examples that we can relate is the usage of “Allah” by non-muslims in Malaysia. It has been debated and discussed, but some tend to be ignorant, abusive, extreme in expresing thoughts and ideas. Yes, it has been understood there’s no specific restriction of non-muslims to use “Allah” to describe their God, but the manner of the matter being brought up sure raised eyebrows and muslims in Malaysia have to think and aware of. In other aspects, exchange of thoughts in the process also shows how some do not willing to listen and open to what the other side(s) is/are talking about.
Another example is how some politicians and supporters expressing their thoughts and acts of how Islamic one should be and could be. Sadly, the difference in views have resulted disunity among muslims due to political view of matters in hand. There have been cases that prayers were done seperatedly due to some not sharing the same political ideologies and not willing to pray togather. There were also instances that muslims accuse other muslims not a muslim due to supporting the same political ideologies as his/hers.
And weirdly, some non-muslims in Malaysia can also pin-point whether one is a muslim or not without really understanding what Islam is. I wonder how and where that understanding come from…
The other things that bothering our mind and perception right now is that some of us tend not to encourage good changes and any movements that will lead to betterment done by other and the manner of enquiring such efforts. In this scope, efforts and ideas come from muslims but ridiculed by other muslims. In this very blog, there are examples where some supported for a good change, but some dropped comments ridiculing the efforts or ideas blatantly. Take the Dinar and Dirham issue for example. I supported the usage, and hoping that the responsible parties involved have prepared the necessary, but some smart alec dropped a comment sarcastically whether Barisan Nasional will be willing to make the change.
Sadly, there are also instances where some against of something in the name of Islam, but when the same matter brings benefit to them, they tend to pretend nothing happened. This is where, in some aspects, will make Islam and muslims looks bad.
The above mentioned are some aspects in general and political terms. In personal day-to-day aspects, how muslims behave themselves should be also be taken care of. Yes, there are no perfect muslims (or even human), but we should do our best in practicising our beliefs.
Question on the street: What does “Wasadtiyah” (moderation) means to you?