Malaysia: Moderation Should Accommodate different Religions
Religious diversity in Malaysia can move forward to another stage, accepting the differences -- to celebrate the differences
KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 (Bernama) -- Extremist groups exist and rise not just among the followers of Islam but other religions too throughout the world, which required concerted efforts to stem the phenomenon.
Muhammadiyah president Prof Dr Din Syamsuddin said this universal phenomenon came about due to internal and external factors, including anti-pluralism and extreme religious fanaticism to the extent of not recognising other religions.
"So, among the concrete measures that we, as an Islamic organisation, can take is protecting other Muslims from being influenced (by religious extremists), besides law enforcement by the government.
"It cannot be denied that such groups also exist in Indonesia, but considering that there are 207 million Muslims out of our total population of 240 million, they are a minority and not the face of Islam in Indonesia."
He said this at a news conference after attending the 'Global Moderation Roundtable: The Experience of Moderation in Indonesia' organised by the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation (GMMF), here, today.
Muhammadiyah is a large Muslim organisation in Indonesia with some 29 million members. It focuses on heightening people's sense of moral responsibility and purifying their faith in true Islam.
Din Syamsuddin said he was confident that by learning from Indonesia's experience in dealing with religious extremist groups, the phenomenon could be managed and checked by other countries through suitable approaches.
Prof Dr Hamka Haq, the chairman of religious organisation Baitul Muslimin Indonesia, said it was not wrong to be fanatical of one's own religion as long as one accepted the existence of other religions and able to "live under the same roof."
"Such pluralism does not give rise to extremism. This is part of moderation. Being moderate does not mean you have to leave fanaticism in religion but religious fanaticism must be managed so as not to disturb other religions," he said.
Hamka said it was important for all quarters to engage in inter-faith dialogues to promote the concept of humanity and peaceful co-existence despite the religious diversity.
The two eminent figures from the republic also expressed appreciation for the efforts of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in setting up GMMF and urged that the foundation become a global movement for promoting the concept of moderation to the world.
GMMF chief executive officer Khalek Awang said Malaysia could learn from Indonesia's experience in uniting people of different religions and ethnic groups while being the biggest Islamic nation in the world.
"First thing is how we should have tolerance when it comes to the issue of diversity, then we move forward to another stage, accepting the differences. We should celebrate the differences."Indonesia has an excellent track record of unity in diversity. Smaller countries like Malaysia, by right can do better and should find it easier to handle (plurality)." He said one of the speakers at the roundtable conference spoke of worrying levels of extremism in some European countries and hence the Global Movement of Moderates could be seen as capable of changing the situation. "The issue of moderation becomes more universal. The voice of the moderates like Malaysia and Indonesia becomes louder and takes centre stage. "We shall not allow the voice of extremists to be louder through collaboration (between countries)," he said.
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