KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 26): Malaysia will not tolerate the act of burning any religious book or text, including the Quran, Bible and even the Hindu text, as Malaysians value humanity and respect the right of each individual, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Condemning in the strongest terms the act of extremist Swedish-Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan in burning a copy of the Quran in Sweden, Anwar said there is so much misunderstanding and prejudice against religions in the world, including Islam.
“What do you want to prove? That you are secular, or that you are against Islam or against religions, when what you actually portray is the degradation of man and values?” Anwar said when launching the book Knowledge, Tradition and Civilisation: Essays In Honour of Professor Osman Bakar at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation, International Islamic University Malaysia here on Thursday (Jan 26).
The PM said he had asked Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir to call the Swedish ambassador and convey Malaysia’s feeling of disgust towards Swedish tolerance to the burning of the Quran in that country.
Rasmus Paludan, the leader of the Danish far-right party of Stram Kurs (Hard Line), was permitted to burn the Quran on Saturday outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm, causing the Muslim world to erupt in anger due to the incident.
Anwar also said Malaysia supports Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his aggressive remarks towards the act by the anti-Islam politician in Sweden.
“There is no reason to provoke the sentiment of ummah, but we are trying to educate our masses. Even within our society, there is a tendency to incite racial hatred, or to promote religious bigotry. We have to deal with it. This is the internal challenge we have,” Anwar said.
The 10th PM of Malaysia, who called the burning of the Quran a barbaric act, also appealed to the masses to continue their protests, and express their disgust while accepting this as a challenge to honour the commitment to keeping the message of the Quran alive.
Meanwhile, on the proposed review of the Islamic civilisation subject or curriculum, Anwar said the proposal should be given attention, so that this field of knowledge would give a greater understanding of Islam, especially in matters of values, morals, humanity and universality.
When asked about the action of certain parties using religion for their own interests, the PM said the move to empower the subject or curriculum is hoped to inculcate the culture of critical learning, and that all Islam-related issues should be referred back to the Quran and hadith.
“Sometimes, religious preachers use their own fatwa (edict). When we reprimand them, they call us anti-ulama. This is so wrong. If a scholar or a preacher gives a wrong fatwa, he should be reprimanded.
“Just because he is an ulama or political leader, it doesn’t mean that everything he says is true. Islam has never taught us that. That is why Islamic education should provide a greater understanding of the religion,” Anwar said.