Greatest threat to Muslim world comes from within, Malaysian leader warns in UN address
The Malaysian Prime Minister used his address to the United Nations today to call on all peace-loving Muslims around the world to unite against the extremists who are using their religion as an excuse to commit violence, stressing that moderation is the key to winning the battle being waged for the future of Islam.
“Around the world, extremism is taking lives and crushing opportunity. This affects us all; but it is one people, of one faith, who suffer most,” said Mohd Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak
“I believe the greatest threat to Muslims today comes not from the outside world, but from within.”
In his address to the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate, the Prime Minister said the conflict between Sunni and Shia threatens the lives and livelihoods of millions of Muslims, from Syria and Lebanon to Iraq and Pakistan.
“Our religion – founded on peace and premised on tolerance – is being twisted by extremists, who are deploying false arguments to foster division and justify violence. Across the Islamic world, extremists are wrapping their perverse agenda in religious cloth; tearing families, countries and the ummah apart,” he stated, referring to the collective community of Muslims.
But Muslims are not powerless to act, Mr. Razak stated. “I believe moderation in religion and the political process can stem the loss of life and liberty in the Muslim world. Behind the tragic violence, there is a battle being waged for the future of Islam.”
He said that by reaffirming the commitment to moderation – and solving the political problems that drive instability, “we can seize back the centre ground” and marginalize the extremists, as well as advance an agenda for peace, harmony and justice.
“I believe that peace-loving Muslims – the overwhelming majority of Muslims – should unite against the extremists who use our religion as an excuse to commit violence,” he stated, adding that one of the most powerful tools in this regard is the practice of moderation.
“We should not mistake moderation for weakness,” the Prime Minister went on to say. “To face those baying for violence and call instead for calm is a sign not of frailty, but of strength. Muslim leaders should speak up and condemn such violence, lest their silence is mistaken for acceptance.”