KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak called on religious experts on Friday to help address the spread of pluralism that, he said, could undermine the faith of Muslims in the country.
He said that although the phenomenon was under control and restricted to certain quarters, it had to be checked immediately in case its spread confused and misled Muslims.
“It is the responsibility of religious teachers, Jakim (Islamic Development Department of Malaysia), the muftis and mosque imams to explain the actual situation in terms of faith.
“We respect the other religions and the other religions have their rights in terms of the laws and federal constitution, but it is not the same in terms of faith. That is what we want to explain.
“Do not misunderstand. Some people may misunderstand and say that I am denying and demeaning other religions. That’s not the case. I am only stating the difference in terms of faith because pluralism is wrong in Islam.
“That’s the point I want to make here. It is hoped that the people understand, and this must be explained to Muslims,” he said.
Najib was asked to comment on hedonism, pluralism and liberalism being seen as the new threats among Muslims.
Earlier, when addressing religious teachers at the Putra World Trade Centre, the prime minister said it was the responsibility of practitioners of Islam to uphold religious truths based on the Quran and Sunnah (sayings of Prophet Muhammad).
He said that, of late, hedonism, liberalism and pluralism had emerged as the new threats among Muslims.
“We believe that if there are people who say that all religions are the same before God, that is wrong in terms of faith. What more if there are Muslims who spread pluralism; that is even more harmful to Muslims.
“We have to rectify this. We can respect other religions. We should not insult other religions. But, in terms of faith, they cannot be equated with Islam,” he told the 700 religious teachers.
The prime minister urged religious teachers to undertake reform in the effort to draw the interest of the young to religious classes held in mosques.
He said studies showed that 65 percent of those who attended religious classes in mosques nationwide were aged about 50 while less than five percent were adolescents.
“This was conveyed to me. I hope we can find ways to attract the young to attend the religious classes. Perhaps, we may have to use multimedia or Power Point presentation or such.
“Youths are the ones we are banking on to become the quality human capital to generate the transformation we aspire for,” he said.
Najib announced a rise in the allowance of the religious teachers, from RM40 to RM100, from last month, in recognition of their role in the propagation of Islam. – Bernama