Sunday, February 7, 2010

Najib calls on Muslims to take the middle path

By Adib Zalkapli

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 5 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak called on the Muslim community to be moderate in their religious practices and to be wary of those who want to stir religious tensions by manipulating the "Allah" row.

Quoting the Quran, Najib said Muslims are referred to in the holy book as a moderate community.

"Therefore the concept of moderation, or the middle path, must be encouraged in Islam as any deed which is done more than necessary is considered extreme, but if it is less than necessary it is considered negligence," said Najib.

"Therefore the Muslim community cannot be rigid and extreme and also should not be too free, without limits," he added.

Najib was speaking at meeting with Islamic leaders and scholars here.

He also urged those present to handle the "Allah" dispute wisely, but did not elaborate on the sensitive issue.

"We must not take lightly controversial religious issues. On the issue of the word 'Allah', it has really tested our wisdom in handling it," said Najib, describing the series of attacks against places of worship as an attempt to destabilise the country.

"Please remember, 40 years after the racial riot of May 13, 1969, the Malaysian community has not given up on building a 1 Malaysian race," said Najib.

He also stressed the importance of dialogue in handling differences of opinion.

"Learn from history and remember that major wars started from small conflicts," said Najib.

After the opening speech Najib then proceeded to have a 20 minute, closed-door dialogue with the 600 Islamic leaders who were present.

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