KOTA KINABALU: Islam continues to be one of the most misunderstood religions due to its misrepresentation in the Western media, a prominent Islamic scholar said.
Al-Azhar University professor Muhammad Abu Layla said the religion followed by 1.3 billion people had constantly been wrongly portrayed by the western media.
It is unfortunate when we hear that Islam encourages terrorism, he said in his talk titled The Misunderstood Religion during a special session at the International CEO conference here.
Prof Muhammad said even the term jihad had been misunderstood, as the common perception of it was that of an armed struggle.
Jihad has never meant to hold the sword. It is instead to initiate efforts to be peaceful, to protect the weak, he added.
Prof Muhammad said those who propagate violence in the name of Islam were only twisting it to suit their needs.
In her talk, Sisters in Islam executive director Zainah Anwar said Muslims must take responsibility for the kind of Islam that develops within their societies.
The fact that Islam is increasingly shaping and redefining our lives means we all have to engage with the religion if we do not want it to be hijacked by those who preach hatred, intolerance, bigotry and misogyny, she said.
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