Use moderation to contain liberal threat, PM’s religious adviser says

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Tan Sri Abdullah Mohd Zin says Muslims must return to the idea of wasatiyyah, or moderation, to combat the so-called spread of liberalism. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 ― Muslims must return to the idea of wasatiyyah, or moderation, to combat the so-called spread of liberalism, the religious adviser to the Prime Minister said today.

Speaking at a forum on the subject organised between the Malaysian and Saudi Arabian governments, Tan Sri Abdullah Mohd Zin claimed liberalism poses a serious threat to Islam, just next to radicalism and terrorism.

“Today, social media is widely used to spread liberalism, a Western idea that allows for wrongful different interpretations of Islamic teachings,” he said at a lecture titled “The Threat of Liberalism, Radicalism and Terrorism in the Muslim World”.

Abdullah also blamed liberalism for the opposition against what he deemed as efforts to strengthen Islam in the country by Muslim themselves.

“We see this in the opposition against Shariah laws and hudud among Muslims themselves.

“They dare to interpret the Quran according to their [Western] logic,” he said.

Liberalism encompasses a wide array of ideas, but its supporters usually push for civil rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, free trade, private property, and free and fair elections.

Last month, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the concept of wasatiyyah has been proposed to be incorporated in the school and university curricula to raise understanding about the idea.

The announcement came amid Putrajaya's effort to combat the influence of extremism within Islam, particularly terror group Islamic State.

Abdullah said today beefed up campaign to promote wasatiyyah will be crucial to circumvent the spread of liberalism or radicalism.

“We can face the problem and we have done so… and the return to wasatiyyah is the only way to deal them,” he said.

Najib had previously echoed Abdullah’s view on liberalism, and cautioned that Islam and its followers are being tested by new threats under the guise of humanism, secularism, liberalism and human rights.