Well Said Dr.Mohd Asri!
PETALING JAYA: Muslims in Malaysia must not be driven by religious extremists willing to exploit Islam for their own political agenda, said influential cleric Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.
The former Perlis mufti stressed the public must protect "non-extreme environments" or risk turning the country into a Taliban State.
Taliban was an Islamist political group which governed Afghanistan before it was overthrown after the 2001 Sept 11 terrorist attacks in the US.
The Taliban government had close links with terrorist group al-Qaeda and was harbouring the group's leaders, including Osama bin Laden.
"We are not a Taliban State, although there are effort by some to apply Taliban-style policy in our country. But, until this moment, our modesty and simplicity still remain strong in our culture," Mohd Asri said in an email to The Malay Mail from the UK.
"We must keep non-extreme environments dominant in our society, otherwise we will put ourselves in a troubling situation.
"We must be careful because there are efforts to change us into an atmosphere of extremism using religion as a tool-giving wrong interpretations of the Quran and Sunnah in order to support their extreme actions."
Mohd Asri said the low turnout at the Himpunan Sujuta Umat (Himpun) rally in Shah Alam last Saturday showed a majority of Muslims in the country rejected religious extremism.
Fewer than 5,000 people turned up at Stadium Melawati for the rally, supported by 3,000 NGOs, aimed to gather a million Muslims against alleged Christian proselytising. "For me, this is a clear message from the majority of Muslims in Malaysia that religious extremism is not their choice," he said.
"Murtad (apostasy) is happening because of weakness or loss of 'iman'. Iman is all about faith. We cannot strengthen or restore faith by blaming others. We should ask why they are weak, have they lost their iman? Where is our dakwah (preaching)? Where is zakat (tithe)? Don't accuse others to cover our weakness."
Mohd Asri said Muslims must stop blaming others for their own shortcomings. "It's better for us to improve ourselves rather than point our fingers at others. We are in the era of globalisation. Today's way of thinking is different. Take into account the current state of ummah and do dakwah in the proper way, insya'Allah, people will love Islam," he said.