Islam, a religion of love and peace

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During this holy month of Ramadhan, we Muslims are once again reminded to be moderate in our daily routine, from food intake to our daily interactions, and to show restraint and discipline in our conduct.

I believe the path of moderation is never an option for any individual, whether in speech and conduct, but a requirement for success in life and a critical ingredient for this country to become a modern and progressive nation.

From the religious point of view, the concept of moderation doesn’t exist exclusively in the secular domain; in fact, it is rooted in the Quran, in which Allah S.W.T commanded:

“Thus we have made of you a community justly balanced that you might be witnesses over the people and the Messenger a witness over yourselves” (al-Baqarah, 2:143)

It is also not exclusive to the religion of Islam only. It is a value universal to all major religions. In Christianity, the Bible says “let your moderation be known unto all men”; and in Buddhism, disciples are taught to walk the middle way, to live a life of moderation and non-violence. Even in Judaism, the Torah teaches that moderation in all things is a “way of life” in the truest sense of Jewish customs.

Unfortunately, around the world, we have had to witness in anguish as Islam – a religion of peace and love – is used to justify acts of extremism. Many atrocities have been committed, children murdered, women raped and schools destroyed, in the name of Islam.

We must put an end to this. These atrocities are destroying the good name of Islam, justifying their heinous acts under the much abused concept of jihad. These atrocities have also destroyed the lives of many – the children who wish for nothing but love and care from their parents and to be educated like other children in other peaceful parts of the world, the adults who hope for nothing but to be able to earn a living for themselves and their loved ones.

It is important for us to stand up to the extremists and say a firm resounding NO to their extremism. They are destroying the name of Islam, a religion of peace and love.

Lest we forget the real teachings of Islam which values coexistence and compassion even in the times of war, might us remind ourselves that during the battle of Badr, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) spared seventy enemy combatants even though the Prophet (PBUH) was urged to slay them.

As violence begets violence, we know that persuasion, negotiation and cooperation are our only weapons to combat extremism. Silence can mean acquiescence. The burden is on us to ensure that the voice of reason is louder than ever, carrying the massed ranks of moderates everywhere. We must not be the silent majority.

As a country, we have witnessed a great and long history of moderation in our governance; we gained independence without warfare; we restored our relations with Indonesia in peacefully; we recovered from many tragic events. Each was a significant moment for our country, and all were gained through reasoned discussions and negotiations.

Never once should we breed or tolerate extremism, again in speech and conduct. Neither will I, as Prime Minister of Malaysia, tolerate it.

As Malaysians in a multi faith society, we live as one. Reject extremism and let us unite and advance peace and moderation as our way of life, the Malaysian way of life.

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