Prof: Here’s how you curb Islamic extremism

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PETALING JAYA: Islamic extremism in the country stems from the education and training of everyday Muslims, according to Professor Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi of UCSI University.

Speaking to FMT, Tajuddin said to curb extremism, Muslims have to look at how they educate their children, including emphasising that no one has complete knowledge over everything.

He cited the fact that many Muslims in the country believed that non-Muslims were damned.

“How do you know this for certain? Are you saying you know for sure what God has in store for the non-Muslims?

“Even in the Quran it says that all our knowledge is only a drop in the ocean compared with divine knowledge.”

He quoted the Quran, chapter 39 verse 10, which reads: “Say, ‘O My servants who have believed, fear your Lord. For those who do good in this world are good, and the earth of Allah is spacious. Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account.”

Tajuddin said: “In this verse, it doesn’t specify whether those who do good are Muslims or non-Muslims. So one can deduce that if non-Muslims do good in this world, then they will be rewarded as well.”

Apart from that, he said it was also important to emphasise that just because two people had differences of opinion, it did not make them enemies.

He gave the example of a household where children might disagree with their parents on certain issues but “it does not mean that you hate your child just because he disagrees with you”.

As for universities, he said there were cases where universities held seminars communicating one-sided point of views.

“It is dangerous for universities to teach their students only one side of things, such as when UiTM held an anti-Christian forum.

“If you’re going to have such a seminar, then allow both points of views to be communicated.

“Then the students will be able to choose for themselves.”

On religious lectures and Friday sermons, Tajuddin said these should be communicated in an impartial and balanced manner.

“There was a Friday sermon I listened to once where the imam was talking about a certain aspect of civil rights, which was un-Islamic.

“I understood that the argument could be made but because of that one aspect, he went on to condemn civil rights completely, which I felt was very unfair.”

Meanwhile, Amanah Communications Director Khalid Samad said there was no easy way to fight narrations that bred extremism among Muslims.

He said the only way to overcome it was with the spread of information and knowledge of the “real” Islam.

“If we can explain through our actions and the messages that we spread – that there is democracy in Islam, justice in Islam, including for the non-Muslims, an Islam of peace and mercy – then most Muslims would be in agreement, and I believe that the majority of Muslims are with us,” he told FMT.

He believed there was only a fringe group, coming from younger religious teachers, which took things out of context.

“The problem is when younger religious teachers do not want to understand Islam in the current context. Instead, they still understand it from the perspective of medieval times where there was usually a sole ruler and the only way to change things was to take up arms.”

Yesterday, Muslim Welfare Organisation of Malaysia (Perkim) President Dr Mahathir Mohamad called on Muslims to review their approach towards Islam, especially in terms of moderation to combat extremist ideologies.