KUALA LUMPUR: An Islamic NGO said race and religious relations can be improved if there is consistency of action by the government and civil societies. Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim) secretary-general Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz said all parties should speak up over contentious issues.
“If someone spreads hate speech by slamming a certain religion, we must all come together to fight against it regardless of the racial or religious background of that person,” he said.
Faisal said the government should emp ower and give space to civil societies to voice out in public and advocate on issues touching on the fundamental rights of citizens regardless of their background. He said this initiative – through all media channels available – should start from the grassroots level and that the government should lead the effort.
Faisal was speaking on the sidelines of a forum on “Aspirations of Malaysia: Realty and the Way Forward” here. Giving the campaign to boycott non-Muslim-made products as an example, Faisal said: “If everyone stands firm with the notion of prospering the Malaysian economy together, this shouldn’t be a big issue.”
He said the way to seek amicable solutions to issues was to “open the door for discussion”. Listening to each other’s concerns and collectively evaluating these concerns based on the “consistent stance” adopted would help resolve issues, he said. Free Malaysia Today.
PETALING JAYA: A Muslim NGO has denied an allegation that vernacular schools are a source of racial disunity among Malaysians, claiming that the family also plays an important role in shaping a one’s personality.
“Historically, we have already accepted a split schooling system, including vernacular schools and religious schools.
“Parents are the ones who must let their children socialise with other ethnic groups,” Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim) secretary-general Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz said.
“They can also be the ones who are not progressive in terms of broadening their children’s social circle.”
He believed that the family plays a more important role in establishing prejudiced perspectives in children.
Individuals themselves may also learn to be more critical of other races, he said on the sidelines of a forum titled “Aspirasi Malaysia: Realiti & Jalan Ke Depan” (“Malaysia’s aspirations: The realities and road ahead”).
“Parents can sometimes be responsible for a child’s narrow-minded mindset. “It doesn’t matter which school we graduate from, be it a Chinese school or religious school.
“What is more important is that we need to have the initiative to explore and be more open to socialising with people who are different from us.” Faisal said parents play a role in incorporating perspectives that are respectful and open towards the other races.
Previously, PAS Muslimat vice-chief Salamiah Md Nor had demanded the abolition of vernacular schools, claiming they don’t contribute to racial unity.
At the same forum, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) anthropology lecturer Ong Puay Liu said although children spend about eight hours in school, they go back to their family at the end of the day.
“So the family should prepare the groundwork to respect each other,” she said. Ong agreed that local educational institutions are also at fault. She said people’s mindsets are shaped by the conditions they grow up in.
“Apart from learning and adapting to the environment, children should also develop self-awareness and critical thinking to understand what’s right and wrong.” Free Malaysia Today.
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