PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made a bold speech in Hawaii on Sunday, calling for the peace-loving moderates majority everywhere to reclaim their place in the centre. He introduced the theme for the first time at the United Nations last year when he called on members of the general assembly to band together to form a global “Movement of Moderates”, but some parts of the speech he had already presented to different audiences at home as well as abroad. The speech at the East West Centre in Honolulu, made while attending the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, was an elaboration of what he had said on the theme thus far.
Najib said the mainstream must wrest control of the centre now or forever regret that because of their unwillingness to act the world had descended into chaos. He said that for far too long, a lack of collective action on the part of the majority of moderates has ceded the floor to the extremist minority, allowing discourse to be dominated not by sense and reason but by those who shout the loudest.
“We cannot afford to stand by and remain silent in the face of extremism and violence,” he said, sounding almost like Edmund Burke, the 18th century political theorist and philosopher, who said that “all that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing”. It is unfortunate that some people, especially those in the West, blame Islam for the violence and terror in the world and say therefore that it cannot become a trusted partner of the West. Such is their adherence to this view that they are quick to blame any act of violence on Muslims until they are proven wrong as in the case of the Timothy McVeigh massacre in Oklahoma and the recent Oslo shooting in Norway.
Najib said Islam is a religion of peace and one which abhors violence, but if it appears otherwise to some people, it is because some Muslims are acting under the false assumption that their faith justifies conflict and violence. While the prime minister is promoting the idea of a global movement to bring the world communities –“moderate Muslims, moderate Christians, moderate Hindus, moderate Jews and moderate atheists” – closer together, he must at the same time do much more to strengthen unity between the races in the country. In other words, he must do more to make his 1Malaysia concept acceptable to all. It is not enough just to ask the people not to focus on what divides us but rather to make real efforts to increase that which are common to us all.
Source : The Sun Daily