I REFER to “Promote moderate Islam views globally” (NST, Jan 29) where Indonesia wants the concept of moderate Islam, also known as Wasatiyyah, as espoused by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to be expanded globally.
Islamicphobia is not only prevalent in the West, but seems to be spreading in moderate Japan as a result of the alleged beheading of one of two Japanese captives by the IS nation groups in the name of Islam.
Question is: how can we promote the true teaching of Islam as a moderate, inclusive and progressive religion when the barbaric action of a few Muslim groups is taken as representative of Islam?
We all know that Islam is a religion of peace. Even Samuel Huntington in “Clash of Civilisation” admitted that Islam is a religion of brotherhood that can live side by side with Christianity.
The Muslim world must therefore find the correct formula to correct the distorted perception of Islam by the West. In this respect, the Muslims themselves must really understand Islam as a religion and a way of life.
Why is it the Japanese people are highly respected and admired by the world's community?
What is the secret of the Japanese people, once very feudal and had a bloody history of serfdom, who is able to take Shintoism as a religion and a way of life? Is it the culture of the Japanese people that makes them a highly civilised people?
Is there anything wrong with Islam or the followers of Islam who are unable to differentiate between culture and religion? Is it the teaching of Islam to disallow girls to go to schools and to marry them off at a tender age of below 12 which make the West wonder and see Islam from a negative perspective?
What made my political science professor in Michigan to say that he could show me there are many militant verses in the Quran? Probably it was due to his readings, observation, travel and bad experience with a few Muslims that made him see Islam in a negative perspective.
While Wasatiyyah is good, it should not end as mere rhetoric and slogan. It should be made a way of life. It is not easy as the culture of Muslims in every country and continent is different, unlike the homogeneous Japanese.
But if Muslims the world over can accept Serena Williams with her sexy attire and grunt at the Australian Open 2015 with an open mind, then that is the starting point of Wasatiyyah.
Hassan Talib Gombak, Selangor The NST Opinion You Write 29 Jan 2015