Highlight the beauty of Islam instead of playing up divisive aspects

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Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin - Photograph: Choo Choy May/Malay Mail

In an open letter to Perlis Mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, JD Lovrenciear urges him to act as a balm in easing inter-ethnic and inter-religious sensitivities.

As reported, Perlis Mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has said things in the open that gives multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysians the jitters.

I write to echo the worries, fears and concerns of many Malaysians as they read and react to the mufti’s claims and reprimands.

Should the mufti, as a Muslim who has a following of believers, not be acting as a balm to calm the already jittery multi-racial, multi-religious population that is being divided by political agendas daily?

The building-block realities are Islam has its unadulterated beauty, while the vast majority of ethnic Malays are gracious, forgiving and accepting of others. Should the mufti then not be capitalising on these two blessings and wisely saying things to bridge, heal and move Malaysians forward?

No Malaysian questions the “Tanah Melayu” historical backdrop. No Malaysian has said no to Islam’s presence and practice in Malaysia. No Malaysian has said he or she will not uphold the learning and use of the Malay language.

Despite our distinct differences Malaysians toiled together to build this free, progressive and independent nation that is home to 30 million souls – Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans and other ethnic groups and indigenous people – and host to migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers.

Why do you now proclaim almost sounding malicious that Malaysia is for Malays?

In the first place, the Islam that most Malaysians know of does not preach the divisiveness of the human race.

Why must we use the West or European nations as the yardstick? In doing so, have we not unintentionally betrayed the unique beauty of Islam that is based on compassion, love, harmony and acceptance?

In alluding to ‘India for Indians’ and ‘China for Chinese’ are you not forgetting our sacrosanct Federal Constitution?

Indeed, in even questioning some of our leaders in government, you give the impression you are speaking more like a politician than a teacher for the faithful. Pardon me if I have been misled here.

You were also reported to have said that “there seems to be a phobia towards anything that is linked with Islam”.

Perhaps it is because those who should know better have failed to highlight the greatness of Islam and the noble spirit of its adherents.

In a global scenario where we get inundated with news of atrocities committed by religious zealots and extremists, it is no surprise if humanity remains trapped in such ‘phobias’ about Islam.

In this regard, your statements about non-Malays and non-Muslims are only driving in deeper the wedge of fear and insecurity, animosity and hatred.

Please dear mufti, you should be a balm for all Malaysians in times of tribulation. You should bring out the beauty of Islam. You should profile the goodness of the Malays.

In essence, you should help build a greater new Malaysia that thrives on its diversity. This is our ongoing journey. Be a companion on this pathway, please.

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