Islam Revival Not Radicalism in Asia

Asian Muslim heavyweight Malaysia, the current chair of the world's pan-Muslim body, insisted that Muslims in Southeast Asia were reviving interest in their religion and not become radicals as the West portrays.

Islam Revival Not Radicalism in Asia

"There is no increase in radicalism but there is a resurgence of people wanting to know more about one's cultural heritage, history and religion," Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar told his Danish counterpart Per Stig Moeller, reported Agence France Presse (AFP).

He noted that more Asian Muslims are becoming increasingly observant of their religion.

The top diplomat asserted that this rekindled interest in one's faith must not be equated with radicalism.

"If you want to know more about your religion or practice your religion, it does not mean you want to become radical or extreme."

Syed Hamid said that instead of demonizing the whole region, the West should address the root causes of extremism and tries to win the hearts and minds of Muslims.

"What we need to handle is to look at the root causes, the human shortcomings and failures rather than blaming the religion," he told the Danish foreign minister.

"The religion has nothing to do with it."

A global poll by the American Pew Global Attitudes involving 14,000 people in 13 countries found in June that Westerners and Muslims share negative views.

While many in the West see Muslims as fanatical, violent and intolerant, Muslims generally view Westerners as selfish, immoral and greedy, according to the survey.


Syed Hamid, whose country hold the current presidency of the Organization of Muslim Countries (OIC), acknowledged the deepening gap between politicians on both sides.

"Sometimes there is a gap between Western and Muslim politicians," he told Malaysia's The Star daily.

He, however, believes that a constructive dialogue could help to wash away misperceptions and promote reconciliation.

"By having more frequent exchanges, it does help in fostering better understanding and goodwill so that we can harmonize the way we treat each other, especially on sensitive issues."

Muslim-West relations have badly deteriorated last year after the publication of twelve Danish cartoons lampooning Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

The caricatures, which were subsequently published elsewhere in Europe, have sparked Muslims protests worldwide.

Pope Benedict XVI added insult to injury last November when he quoted criticism of Islam and Prophet Muhammad by 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, who wrote that everything Muhammad brought was evil and inhuman, "such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

The pontiff has since distanced himself from the quotes and reaffirmed respect for Muslims and their faith

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16