PUTRAJAYA: There are worrying developments and trends that are pushing towards normalizing Islamophobia that is the rise of the majority in the populist and extreme right spectrum which includes a strong anti-Islam component in their discourse.
Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Datuk Seri Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir said, this has culminated in hostility and Islamophobic acts towards Muslim brothers and sisters.
“Malaysia is not spared in the wake of Islamophobia. As a predominantly Muslim country, one may hold an assumption that Islamophobia does not exist here.
“However, its domestic manifestation has emerged. This is evidenced by the arrests and charges against several individuals who ridicule the religion of Islam, Muslims, and Islamic figures, especially on social media,” Dr. Zambry said at the international conference on “Islam and Islamophobia: Towards a Meaningful Engagement through the Madani Approach,” organised by the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Minister added, Islamophobia has become globalized by a number of factors, including the spread of radical extremist ideologies, the rise of far right political movements and the growing prevalence of negative media portrayals of Muslims.
He said, these global forces have had a major impact on the way Muslims are seen and treated, even marginalized, in many countries throughout the world.
In certain countries Dr. Zambry said, these factors have enabled violence against the Muslims.
Disturbing occurrences such as the desecration of the Holy Qur’an in Sweden, the murder of Muslims during prayers in New Zealand, and the anti-Muslim riots in India are nothing but highlighting the detrimental impact of Islamophobia worldwide.
“The systemic oppression of Muslims also continues unabated.
The decade-long ban on minarets in Switzerland, the refusal of certain European governments to accept Muslim refugees, and the continuous harassment faced by Muslim women in the West who choose to wear the Hijab highlight the different forms of Islamophobia that exist today,” Dr. Zambry reiterated.
The Minister also stressed that these examples must be treated as a clear call to action; to combat Islamophobia, and promote harmonious relations and peaceful coexistence in an otherwise diverse global community.
Dr. Zambry highlighted that Islamophobia does not only affect the lives of millions of people but also erodes the very fabric of society and threatens the values Muslims hold.
“It is my profound belief that sophisticated mechanisms are required to address the challenges posed by this phenomenon.We cannot merely rely on conventional approaches to combat discrimination and prejudice.
Instead, we must be proactive in developing effective strategies for today’s landscape,” he said.
Dr. Zambry said, standing as a successful modern-day model of a harmonious multi-religious, multi-cultural, and multi-racial Muslim majority country, Malaysia is uniquely positioned to spearhead efforts towards interfaith dialogues and engage with its Muslim brotherly nations to develop strategies on a global scale.
“I suggest this undertaking to be done under the patronage of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to reaffirm its global commitment to counter this phenomenon.
“Malaysia will continue to play a leading role in spearheading Malaysia Madani’s agenda in promoting the tenets of Islam, and combat Islamophobia at the international fora.
“Through the values and principles which Malaysia Madani holds, this will restore the trust that Malaysia had among the Muslim Ummah. Islamophobia can only be adequately addressed if all parties work together to fight it. We must speak out against prejudice and injustice, support our fellow Muslims, and stand with them in solidarity,” he said. – Malaysia World News