Pengikut Blog Panglima

10 November 2016

Full Text of The Keynote Address DPM @Zahid_Hamidi DE-ROOTING RADICALISM AND EXTREMISM #Oxford #London

OXFORD: Following is the full text of the keynote address by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi delivered at the Oxford Centre For Islamic Studies (OCIS), Oxford University, here Wednesday:


By Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

Part A: Introduction

1. Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim.

2. Assalamu'alaykum and good afternoon. I am deeply honoured to deliver this lecture in this beautiful Malaysian lecture theatre at this very prestigious Centre. Thank you Dr Nizami for kindly inviting me here.

3. I am speaking today not only as a conscientious Muslim, but also as a Malaysian and a proud representative of Islam in the Malay world.

4.Islam, as the last of the revealed religions, and Prophet Muhammad, who best exemplified this religion, are sent not only as "a mercy to believers" (al-Tawbah: 61) but "to all creatures", (al-Anbiya': 107):

The Qur'an contains ample teachings exhorting Muslims to be just even towards those whom they hate. "Let not your hatred towards a group make you commit injustice". Justice is ever demanded for it is closest to God-consciousness (taqwa), (al-Ma'idah: 8):

5.In the long history of Islam in various parts of the world, such as Spain, many parts of Africa and the Middle East, the Balkans and Central and South Asia and the Malay world, the principles of mercy and justice were largely upheld by countless political leaders, scholars and administrators with various political, educational, and legal institutions. Despite the various internal and external challenges that it has to face, it is a truly universal and an ethical civilisation.

6. The arrival and spread of Islam in the Malay World began in the 7th century CE with the transformation of the worldview and the ethical, cultural and socio-political framework of the indigenous people. By the 12th and 13th century this process began to be intensified by generations of profound scholars and other individuals originally from Hadramaut, without any military assistance. Here, Islamic civilisation flowered for many centuries centering on several major cities such as Melaka and Acheh. It has survived despite long periods of subjugation and colonisation of the different parts of the Malay Archipelago by the Buddhist Thais, Catholic Portuguese and Spaniards, Protestant Dutch, and Anglican British, as well as the Shintoist Japanese.

7. Today Malaysia is our proud home of a multi-cultural and multi-religious democracy, the longest running and uninterrupted one in the history of the modern Muslim world. While the Muslims formed the majority and with strong adherence to Islam, the religious, linguistic, cultural and socio-economic rights of citizens of other faiths are not only tolerated but celebrated.

8. The long standing importance of the Malay language, the national language, does not prevent us from supporting national type vernacular schools like Tamil and Chinese, national television programmes in vernacular languages during prime time. The majority of the richest Malaysians, since Independence, have not been Malays but our non-Malay citizens.

9.This unique tolerance, which we call Muhibbah, from the Arabic word hubb, meaning love, poses certain challenges to our national integration aspiration, but we are able to transcend its limitations. We are an example of unity in diversity. The people and the government realise the great practical importance in rejecting all forms of extremism, radicalism, and terrorism. Hence, we are able to conduct our daily activities without fearing for our lives, unlike in some other countries.

Part B: The Causes of Radicalisation

10. There are many inter-related factors that lead to extremism, radicalism, wars, and terrorism. In a globalised world, radicalism and extremism and their impact on international relations and security are not only limited to Muslims but also to those who profess other religions and secular ideologies. These have been justified often times wrongly, in the names of religion, ideology, King, Country, ethnic and linguistic purity, or even Humanity.

11.European colonisation of Latin America, parts of Africa, and Asia was perpetrated in the name of God and Country. As we all know, Gold and Glory were no doubt the more obvious and instrumental motivations.

12. The First and Second World Wars, the Korean and Vietnam Wars can be attributed primarily to ideological causes. The Balkan Tragedy was essentially based on ethnic-religious ground. The mass genocide in the Christian majority state of Rwanda is largely motivated by tribalism; the Ugandan civil war was primarily due to Christian religious radicalism, the mass killings of the Muslims in the Ivory Coast were ethnic-religious, committed by Christian and indigenous groups.

13.The decades old Sri Lankan civil war between the Hindu-Tamil minority separatist group -- some of whose methods are quite similar to the Muslim terrorists -- against Buddhist-Sinhalese majority was driven by ethnic and religious factors.

14. Here, our focus is on de-rooting Muslim extremism, radicalism, and terrorism. These phenomena have victimised not only those who were directly targeted, but also Muslims worldwide and stoke the lingering ambers of Islamophobia. In understanding these phenomena, it is instrumental to look at internal and external factors.

15. To de-root a tree, it is not enough to merely uproot it from the ground, because the remaining roots may yet be alive and will continue to grow and spread. De-rooting a tree involves also other mechanisms so that all the hidden and widely spread remnants will be effectively eliminated.

16. In a similar but more complicated manner, de-rooting extremism, radicalism, and terrorism among a small minority of Muslims involves a keen and correct understanding of their real internal and external causes, and the application of wise, bold, and consistent multi-dimensional corrective, punitive, and preventive approaches.

i) The internal factors:

17.Extremism (ghuluw) is a vice in the Islamic worldview and ethics, while moderation (wasatiyyah), which has been universally practised throughout Muslim history, is a praiseworthy virtue (fadhilah). The moderate Muslims, most of whom belong to the majority Sunni School, have produced many major tracts detailing the various extremist, radical, and terroristic trends that had arisen from within the Muslim community from the earliest century of Islam. We can mention the works such as al-Farq bayn al-Firaq by Abdul Qahir al-Baghdadi (d.1037), Tahafut al-Falasifah, Ihya Ulumuddin, and Munqidh min al-Dalal by Hujjatul Islam Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali (d. 1111), and Kitab al-Milal wa al-Nihal, by Abdul Karim al-Shahrastani (d.1153) and many others.

18. Extremism exists even among the Sufis. Prominent Sufi thinkers have also documented various extremist trends from among those who claim to be truly following the deepest Islamic spiritual and ethical teachings. We can see this in two of the Muslim popular works such as Risalah al-Qushayriyyah fi 'Ilm al-Tasawwuf of Abdul Karim al-Qushayri (d. 1072) and Kashf al-Mahjub of Ali Uthman al-Hujwiri (d. 1072). In the Malay world, the works of one of our greatest scholars, namely Hujjat al-Siddiq li Daf'i al-Zindiq and Lata'if al-Asrar by Nuruddin al-Raniri (d. 1658), can be consulted.

19.These and other works on theology, law, ethics, and spirituality were taught in the various levels of traditional Muslim education and helped to shape the worldview and practice of the Muslims in dealing with various basic doctrinal, legal and political principles and controversies. Even the Khawarij and Batini Assassins -- the Hashashiyun --, who managed to create tremendous mischief for some time, were all finally intellectually defeated and made socially insignificant in our history.

20. Presently, the terms "Muslim moderates, fundamentalists, extremists, and radicals" are interpreted mainly from the Western perspective. It generally regards as moderates and inclusive those Muslims who reject or challenge many fundamental principles and practices of Islam, and at the same time uncritically accept secular, Western and other non-Islamic moral standards. Muslims who intelligently accept most of the traditional Islamic spiritual, moral, and legal principles and are appreciative but critical of some secular, Western, and other non-Islamic matters are branded as fundamentalists and exclusive. Some who are more vocal are accused as extremists, radicals, and may even be suspected of harboring hidden terroristic tendencies.

21. De-traditionalisation and de-spiritualisation of Islamic discourse and practice become more pronounced since the 19th century. The influence of a narrower and more legalistic vision of Islam has made political power the most central element in religious consciousness, discourse, and practice. Politics and law have been placed higher than their traditionally allocated positions. Even the study of Qur'an tafsirs and hadiths are narrowly carried out from the legal and political perspective. The more wholesome and proper kalam (theological) and Sufi narratives were sidelined, which consequently deprived the Muslim mind from the rich and edifying intellectual, spiritual, and ethical resources.

22. Increasingly, we also notice that scholars, writers, and other individuals and groups who wrongly rebelled against established Muslim authorities, and consequently suffered were accorded a higher moral status than others, compared to the actual integrity of their moral life as well as the true worth of their intellectual and social contributions.

23.The de-traditionalisation of Muslim education also creates a rejection of the established interpretation of Muslim political philosophy. Hence some self-educated writers and politically motivated Islamic organisations reject the legitimacy of existing Muslim governments and call for the establishment of an idealised Islamic theocracy with the final aim of forming a global Caliphate. Besides ignoring the generally conservative political position of the majority of traditional scholars, these individuals and groups also do not recognise the contemporary state appointed religious authorities whose duties and obligations are to look after the affairs and interests of the Muslims and non-Muslims.

24. Traditional Islamic education inculcates the importance of Shari'ah as a gradual result of a proper and widespread understanding and application of Islam as a philosophical and ethical system. The interpretation and application of the Shariah was organically imbued with its very spirit, Maqasid al-Shariah, which are the reflections of the major philosophical and ethical principles of Islam. It is also cognizant of the various relevant socio-historical contexts when the legal positions were taken, and the contemporary contexts for their creative, innovative, and adaptive application. In this sense ijtihad among qualified authorities has always been encouraged.

25. Extremists and the radicals interpret the Shariah rulings almost literally without due recognition of their maqasid, and their historical contexts as well as the contemporary conditions.

26. There is, however, another type of extremism and radicalism within the contemporary Muslim Community.

27.They comprise a vocal group of Muslims who want to transform and liberate Islam and the Shariah, based on some extreme modern and secular philosophical worldview, and its conception of human rights and obligations, as well as its notion of progress, development, and happiness. While they are extremely critical of any attempts to rejuvenate Islamic consciousness and practices within the Muslim Community, they are apparently less critical in adopting the extreme and secular ideas, concepts, and methods.

28. While they correctly stress the importance of looking at traditional Islamic interpretations and practices within their socio-historical contexts, they seem to abandon the philosophical, religious, and socio-historical contexts of the modern and mostly Western ideas and institutions. Although they argue and champion their causes in the name of liberalism and human rights, they often times have not demonstrated a genuine liberal spirit towards the Muslim religious conservatives.

29. They appear to conveniently ignore the fact that traditional Islamic worldview and education, at the highest levels, have placed tremendous importance on knowledge and wisdom, regardless of origins. Islamic thought and civilisation from the beginning has benefitted from a critical evaluation, adoption and assimilation of pre-Islamic indigenous, and contemporary foreign ideas and institutions. This critical and creative process is what some of our scholars call Islamisation.

30.The illiberal liberals briefly described above are not moderates as some media people and analysts claimed. Just like the religious extremists, these extreme liberals do not represent the voice and consciousness of the vast majority in Malaysia and elsewhere. Dialogues between them with their non-Muslim and Western counterparts are thus not reaching the targeted audience. Instead, these dialogues have derailed their noble objectives, while alienating and radicalising some Muslims.

31. The increasingly open democratic spaces and the influence of the social media in Muslim societies such as Malaysia can be misused by these two general types of extremists, which can lead to terrorism and social-political disorder, and great sufferings to many. We are taking all possible measures to prevent such scenarios.

These are the internal factors.

ii) The external factors:

32.The overwhelming majority of Muslims are not extremists -- even if some of their traditional religious and ethical-moral outlook, and their social-legal practices are not acceptable to some modern secularists, or even when they have to resort to military means to defend their homeland and their basic human rights.

33. There are several external factors that have significantly contributed to the rise of Muslim extremism, radicalism, and terrorism worldwide. By external factors, we mean persistent attacks on Islam and the Muslims in various shapes and forms. Although these are certainly not new, their continuous occurrence in the age of Internet and easy global human movement would stir up deep resentment among even ordinary Muslims, and would motivate a small number of misguided ones to develop extremist and radical ideologies and actions.

34. In our time, vicious attacks on the Qur'an and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), unjustified criticisms against any Muslim attempt to live according to the basic tenets of the Shariah, discrimination against fellow Muslims occur almost daily. Muslim religious freedom in some liberal Western countries, which champion global human rights, multi-culturalism, and tolerance, appears to be increasingly restricted under various pretexts.

35. Alhamdulillah, the Balkan Tragedy was peacefully terminated after such a great loss of human lives and untold atrocities. But the long-sufferings of the Palestinian people, the Rohingyas in Myanmar, the Thai-Malays in Southern Thailand, the Bangsamoro in the Philippines, and other indigenous Muslims minorities in Central Asia have not been resolved. The crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria see the Muslims as the majority victims.

36. The displacement of Muslims from their homeland in some cases, and the constant deprivation of certain basic rights, humiliation, and suffering as citizens in their own homeland, would elicit deep-seated resentment and anger not only against the direct perpetrators, but also their allies. Muslim nations and the International community must work harder to overcome all residual obstacles to find workable, permanent solutions.

37. We believe that extreme and radical ideologies are products of grossly misguided thinking combined with a serious sense of hopelessness and desperation. Such state of mind breeds reckless fearlessness, not courage which will show utter disregard not only for all international laws and conventions, but also for their own lives. Repeated incidences of Islamophobia and the double standards on Islam and Muslims will be used by Muslim extremists and militants to recruit new members worldwide.

Part C: De-rooting Extremism and Radicalism

38. We in Malaysia have been rather fortunate. In the 59 years of our modern national existence, Malaysia, despite its highly multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic society has practically negligible incidences of religious or ethnic based extremism and radicalism. Certainly not terrorism.

39. The highly deplorable 1969 riots, the Memali incident (1985), and the Kg Medan, Petaling Jaya (2001) are the three black dots in a huge expanse of the white canvas of harmonious and peaceful coexistence. There might have been one or two other much smaller incidences. So far, we also have not experienced any major violent confrontations between Muslims and non-Muslims, or between different groups of Muslims based on different interpretations of Islam whether Sunni vs Shi'i, Wahabi vs Non-Wahabi, and other form of divisions. Alhamdulillah. However, tensions and misunderstandings do exist which I think are unavoidable in any human society of great diversity.

40. Our efforts to de-root extremism, radicalism, and terrorism involve a three-pronged and mutually interconnected approach: i) educational and re-traditionalisation; ii) legal and de-radicalisation; and iii) social and economic.

i) Education and on re-traditionalization:

41. Our current system of education from the lowest to the highest levels has been relatively successful in creating educated, religious-ethical, skilled, united and multi-cultured citizens. However we must continue to strengthen its positive features, review, and correct any shortcomings and defects, and add new features to deal with emergent and future challenges.

42. In the specific context of our present discourse, we need to re-traditionalise our education by strengthening the traditional worldview of Islam as agreed upon by the largest majority of authoritative traditional scholars in various fields of Islamic thought and culture. This must be done by taking into consideration the relevant historical contexts and contemporary needs, as well as future possibilities. It should be stressed that the teaching and examination methods must be more analytical and comparative vis-a-vis other religious and cultural worldviews.

43. The inculcation of the right and proper ways of thinking and acting is not carried out only in formal educational setting. It is part of our educational and cultural tradition to infuse this central element into every aspect of our personal and communal life.

44. In Malaysia, especially in the towns and cities, all official programmes are generally multi-cultural and multi-religious. This is especially most prominent during the annual festive occasions of all the major religions in the country through the tradition of "Open House". But we need to have more serious inter-faith dialogues and interactions especially from the secondary and the tertiary levels onward which would help to promote mutual understanding, compassion, and benevolence.

45. Similarities must be emphasised, but we should not force any artificial unity amidst fundamental and real differences because it can lead to reactionary extremism and radicalism. Those who feel that the truly fundamental aspects of their religion, culture, and identity are consistently suppressed for the sake of conformity to the will of the powerful will develop deep-resentment, anger, and rebelliousness. When that power is perceived to be waning, or when the social climate is excited by certain combustible event, those feelings will be enflamed into unforeseen and uncontrollable disasters.

46. It is more honest I think, to recognise and acknowledge these differences and to place them accordingly. Reality, as aptly observed by one of the most prominent contemporary Muslim scholars, Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, is characterised by difference, and knowledge of a thing is possible because of its distinguishing characteristic from the others. Justice and harmony are attained when we are able to recognise this reality and to ensure that everything is put in their right and proper places. I need to emphasise here that the writings and activities of authoritative scholars like Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas in Malaysia and the region have significantly contributed to the better understanding and application of Islam as a religion and an ethical civilisation.

47. Oppression, barbaric acts, and injustices have been carried out against fellow humans because of the inability and unwillingness to justly treat the differences between us.

48. Here I want to share that in Malaysia we have been quite successful in identifying and apprehending various extremists and radical trends. The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) with the help of various institutions has made regular reports of these individuals and groups. Systematic and serious precautionary measures and continuous rehabilitation programmes have been regularly implemented.

49. Also our existing legal and preventive measures in dealing with radicalism and extremism have enabled us to identify and detain 240 individuals involved in DAESH activities since February 2013, 90 of them (74 males and 16 females) were involved in Syria.

ii) On legal and de-radicalisation:

50. On the legal front, Malaysia has introduced related legislations namely the Prevention of Crime Act 2015 (POTA) and the Special Measures against Terrorism in Foreign Countries Act 2015 (SMATA). Both legislations are consistent with the spirit and purpose of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2178 particularly in monitoring and regulating Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs).

51. Malaysia continues to work closely with other countries and international organisations in improving border security to prevent movement of terrorists. On 2 October last year, we hosted the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on The Rise of Radicalism and Violent Extremism, which further strengthens our regional commitment and cooperation to de-root this menace against global peace.

52. Subsequently, on 25-26 January 2016 we hosted an International De-radicalisation Conference in order to produce the standard guideline/SOP on de-radicalisation. The Conference also drew participation from all South East Asian countries and other countries including United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Japan and the People's Republic of China.

53. The de-radicalisation strategy in Malaysia requires strategic collaboration between the Government, civil societies including private sectors so as to prevent individuals or group of individuals from engaging in extremist/radical 'activities' at home or abroad. Effective engagement and counseling are done continuously in order to rehabilitate potential or prospective extremists/terrorists. It is carried out with the full cooperation of various Ministries and departments including the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, Ministry of Higher Education, and the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia, Prime Minister Department.

54. Last year my ministry has also produced a rather comprehensive rehabilitation programme specifically for this group, called The Integrated Deradicalisation Module for Terrorists (Ministry of Home Affairs, 2015). It is a 263-page document containing sub-modules dealing with the self and self-management, social skills, spiritual and moral values, thought and psychology, criminal behavior, security, career and family, and nationhood.

This de-radicalisation programme involves three phases for a duration of two years.

55. Malaysia continues to monitor terrorist narratives through all channels and media aimed at denying extremists proponents from the means and opportunities to pursue extremists/terrorist activities and promote their ideologies.

iii) On the Socio-Economic:

56. To consistently and successfully de-root extremism, radicalism, and terrorism in all shapes and forms, we need to maintain, in fact enhance our socio-political unity, and national stability and integrity. We also must weather the current economic challenges faced by all nations worldwide. These conditions are integrally related to one another, and all of them hinge on the correct spiritual orientation and ethical and moral compass of our citizens especially the leadership at all levels.

57. As conscientious Muslims, we are always reminded of the profoundly true warning of the Holy Prophet to the effect that God does not sustain a government which is not just, despite it being a Muslim government; and on the contrary He will support a just government even if it is not a Muslim government.

58. We are also constantly being reminded of another hadith of the Prophet of the supplications of those who have been unjustly treated even if they are non-Muslims since God answers prayers of the victims of injustice regardless of their religious orientation.

59. In the Malay world, these two hadiths are recorded in many influential traditional treatises dealing with governance, one of which is Taj al-Salatin of the 18th century by Bukhari al-Jawhari.

60. We believe that the longevity of our system of government led by UMNO since our Independence on 31 August 1957 is because of its ability to do justice to all the various segments of our multi-cultural and multi-religious society. There is still much to be done. Our journey is still long, but we have reached this far safely and happily. We must forge ahead with necessary caution but with great confidence and hope.

Part C: Conclusion

61. In conclusion, I would like to underline that extremism, radicalism, and terrorism are not only motivated by misguided religious orientation, but also by misplaced secular, tribal, and other human interests and affiliations. We all shoulder the responsibility to de-root all elements of these negative trends by addressing both the internal and external factors concurrently with all seriousness. Extremism, radicalism, and especially terrorism have always been condemned in traditional Islamic teachings and practices.

62. However the responsibility for the misguided doctrines and horrendous actions of a very small minority should never be placed on the shoulders of the innocent majority. Such action not only is an injustice but would also imply a form of extremism, and in some cases even terrorism. These will unintentionally become useful fodder for real extremists and terrorists to justify their mistrust in majority opinions, international laws and conventions, and to recruit new members worldwide.

63. As Muslims, we must use all our available resources and cooperate will all parties to prevent and contain these trends. We in Malaysia will continue to be a more central player in this very laudable task. Three years ago, the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) and the Centre for Advanced Studies on Islam, Science, and Civilisation, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (CASIS-UTM) held their 2nd Roundtable Discussion on Tolerance and Moderation in Contemporary Muslim Societies. I applaud the good work of OCIS and CASIS-UTM in their efforts to support these noble objectives.

64. We must close our ranks, and minimise our differences. We must focus our attention on de-rooting the menace of extremism, radicalism, and terrorism.

We should not waver in our stand, nor should we compromise in our struggle. We must cooperate with all parties and should never be distracted from the noble mission. As Allah says in the Holy Qur'an (Ali Imran: 159):
65. Wa billahi tawfiq wal-hidayah,

Wassalamu 'alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

Thank you very much.

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