KUALA LUMPUR: An Islamic NGO said race and religious relations can be improved if there is consistency of action by the government and civil societies.
Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim) secretary-general Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz said all parties should speak up over contentious issues.
“If someone spreads hate speech by slamming a certain religion, we must all come together to fight against it regardless of the racial or religious background of that person,” he said.
Faisal said the government should empower and give space to civil societies to voice out in public and advocate on issues touching on the fundamental rights of citizens regardless of their background.
He said this initiative – through all media channels available – should start from the grassroots level and that the government should lead the effort.
Faisal was speaking on the sidelines of a forum on “Aspirations of Malaysia: Realty and the Way Forward” here.
Giving the campaign to boycott non-Muslim-made products as an example, Faisal said: “If everyone stands firm with the notion of prospering the Malaysian economy together, this shouldn’t be a big issue.”
He said the way to seek amicable solutions to issues was to “open the door for discussion”.
Listening to each other’s concerns and collectively evaluating these concerns based on the “consistent stance” adopted would help resolve issues, he said.
Recently, several individuals have been charged in court over insults to religions posted on social media.
Putrajaya was recently accused of double standards for deporting a Turkish family at the request of the Turkish authorities but protecting Dr Zakir Naik, who is wanted by India for money-laundering and other alleged offences.