Conservative Muslims not extremist, says Muslim NGO


PETALING JAYA: Moderate Muslims cannot label people with more conservative opinions on Islam as extremists, says Adli Zakuan, an executive committee member of Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim).

Speaking at a forum entitled “Membalas Naratif Extremism” at The School in Jaya One here today, Adli said that Muslims believe that God calls differing opinions a mercy and a blessing.

“Our job is not to change a person’s opinion but to provide a different kind of view,” he said.

“There needs to be a contestation of ideas and in my opinion, a characteristic of an extremist is one who rejects the opinions of others.”

Prominent social media activist Shafiqah Othman weighed in on the subject, saying conservative Muslims referred to liberal Muslims as “liberal scum” because they were unable to justify the way they think.

“I write to share what I know and it is my hope that those who read me on social media will do their own research.

“The only way for people to respect our opinion is to have as much knowledge as the more conservative muftis and ulamas because, make no mistake about it, they are very knowledgeable and are able to back up their statements,” she said.

Meanwhile, Iman Research Executive Director Dina Zaman claimed that many of the extremist ideologies come from unknown foreign scholars who preached in secret.

“There was a foreign scholar who came to my house and preached for two hours to my family about how to perform ablution,” she said.

“The scary thing is that when I asked whether this was from the Quran or sayings of the Prophet, he simply said “no”.

She claimed that there were a growing number of these foreign scholars who preached in secrecy coming to the country.

“So these extremist ideologies are not coming from our ulamas or muftis, they’re coming from the outside and I feel that we have to start monitoring the scholars who come here, know where they studied and where they get their sources from.”