‘Don’t get confused over Arabisation and Islamisation’

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BANGKOK: The Muslim community in Thailand should not be confused with the process of Arabisation and the demands of Islamisation in pursuing their religious faith.

Global Movement of Moderates Foundation (GMM) chief executive officer Nasharudin Mat Isa said Arabisation was a trend that not only happened in Malaysia but also in the region.

“What should be enlivened is the process of Islamisation and not Arabisation, because not all Arabs are Muslim,” he said when met by Bernama after delivering his keynote address at a seminar on moderation at Chulalongkorn University.

The seminar, with the title “Moderation  Islamic Approach to Face the Global Transition on Asean-Thailand” was attended by Islamic academicians in Thailand, as well as Malaysian Ambassador to Thailand Nazirah Hussain and former Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan.

Nasharudin, who was appointed GMM chief executive officer in 2015, said many people wanted to be Arabs thinking that “Arab is Islam and Islam is Arab”.

The Malays, he said, were rich in culture that did not contradict Islamic teachings.

“For as long as the culture (practised) does not contradict the syarak (Islamic teachings), it is not prohibited in Islam,” he added.

Meanwhile, Surin, who was former Thai foreign minister, in his speech at the seminar, said Malaysia and Indonesia were now faced with the problems of Arabisation of their culture.