Malaysian PM Seeks 'Global Movement of Moderates'

Kuala Lumpur, May 17 (IANS) Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has urged for "a global movement of moderates".

Addressing a gathering at Oxford University, Najib opposed political violence in any form and pointed to the path of moderation preached by all religions. He said that those who were taking the violent path and engaging in acts like suicide bombing did not represent their faiths.

The history of political struggle showed that compassion and goodwill triumphed over violence and injustice, Najib said in his address at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OXIS) Monday.

"Moderation is not an alien concept to mankind," he remarked as he revisited chapters of the political struggle of renowned leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.

"Moderation was manifested in the works of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of non-violent struggle, who freed a nation through his faith in the inherent goodness of man.

"Moderation is also reflected in the struggle of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. In his dream for a more equal America, he appealed to its highest ideals of using non-violent means, following in the footsteps of Gandhi rather than debasing his struggle by stooping to the low of his opponents," the New Straits Times quoted Najib as saying.

"In the case of the United Kingdom, cast your mind back, if you will, to the darker days in Northern Ireland," he told students.

Najib said that for Muslims, moderation was not theoretical in nature, but a real living principle that could be gleaned from the exemplary conduct of Prophet Muhammad.

Najib pointed out that there was no such thing as a liberal or an extremist Islam, a conservative or an enlightened Islam, a jihadist or an appeasing Islam, a modern or a medieval Islam.

"There is only Islam, a complete way of life. Being moderate cannot in any way be equated to a wimp, unprincipled, weak or appeasing," said Najib, who leads an Islamic republic with a multi-racial and multi-religious population.

At 2.1 million, ethnic Indians form eight percent of Malaysia's 28 million population.

He also noted that moderation was also advocated in Christianity, Judaism, Taoism and other religions.

"Our choice is clear. Come together in action for a future of justice, freedom, hope, compassion and goodwill for our children or it will be replaced by a future of injustice, tyranny, hopelessness, cruelty and hate.

"Because the real divide is not between East and West or between the developed and developing worlds or even between Muslims and non-Muslims. It is between moderates and extremists of all religions," said Najib.


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