KUALA LUMPUR: The misleading interpretations of Islam as a cruel religion have sparked a fear of Islam in Malaysia, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Before this, there was no controversy over the teachings of Islam. But now, a lot of things and reactions have surfaced where people do things that may not be agreeable to the Muslims.
“Sometimes, the reaction is extreme,” the former prime minister told the press after launching the “One Soul, One Quran” project at the Kuala Lumpur Tower yesterday.
He said there were many interpretations and teachings on Islam these days that were not actually based on the religion.
“They like to portray Islam as a cruel, unreasonable or unjust religion and that makes non-Muslims in Malaysia afraid of Islam, when the reality is, there is nothing to fear,” he added.
Under the project organised by the Islamic Information and Services Foundation, one million copies of the Quran will be produced and translated into Tamil, Chinese, English and Malay, and distributed to the public.
Dr Mahathir, who is the project’s patron, said it was aimed at lessening the misconception and alleviating fear of Islam amongst non-Muslims.
Apart from the translated copies, the project will also distribute explanations on specific verses to prevent misunderstanding.
“For example, the verse that allowed Muslims to kill non-Muslims only touched on one event in the history of Islam. It does not mean we are told to kill other people,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said it was important for Muslims to return to the teachings of the Quran to avoid misinterpretations.
“There are so many interpretations now by so-called leaders and we get obsessed with the leaders and what they say, when the truth is, their interpretations do not follow the real teachings.
“We are divided into factions and accuse one another of being un-Islamic. This is why reading and understanding the Quran is important,” he said.