Moderation is also liberal, IDEAS tells PM’s religious adviser

Tan Sri Dr Abdullah Mohd Zin speaks at a lecture titled ‘The Threat of Liberalism, Radicalism and Terrorism in the Muslim World’ in Kuala Lumpur April 13, 2017. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 ― Growing intolerance in the establishment was fuelling radicalisation in Malaysia, the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) told the prime minister’s religious adviser who advocated “moderation” to combat liberalism.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan, head of the libertarian think-tank, said such illiberal ideas included dictating how people should live their lives, the notion that only a certain school of thought approved by people in power is correct, as well as the notion that God must be defended by government officials.

“Moderation itself is a liberal concept,” Wan Saiful told Malay Mail Online.

“By suggesting that moderation is a tool to counter liberalism, he is exposing his own flawed knowledge. This country has been peaceful and harmonious for so long, but the rise of illiberal ideas within the establishment is the one contributing to radicalisation and discord in our society,” he added.

Tan Sri Abdullah Mohd Zin, who is the religious adviser to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, said at a lecture earlier today that liberalism was a “Western idea” that allowed for “wrongful different” interpretations of Islam.

He blamed liberalism for the opposition among Muslims themselves against Shariah law and hudud, a strict Islamic penal code that punishes theft and adultery with amputations and death by stoning.

Abdullah said in 2015 that state fatwas, or religious edicts, could be issued against G25 after the group of retired Malay senior civil servants said Shariah laws governing khalwat (close proximity among unmarried couples) should be reviewed.