KUALA LUMPUR: Muslim countries must focus on development to become strong and defend its ummah, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
In his keynote address at the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019, the Prime Minister said that Muslim countries are often oppressed as they are not strong.
Dr Mahathir explained it was important for Muslim countries to grow until they become developed nations.
"It is not because we value the term so much but because today Muslims are oppressed everywhere.
"Any country can oppose Muslims and get away with it. We are paralysed. We cannot even condemn these actions by others because if we do, they will take retaliatory action against us," he said on Thursday (Dec 19).
Dr Mahathir also noted that Islam had become the subject of vilification and defamation as Muslims have been equated with terrorism and failed governments as well as "irrationality and acts unworthy of civilised behaviour".
He noted that the acts of terror have resulted in more harm to the religion and caused Muslims to be further oppressed instead of freeing them.
"We may claim to be performing jihad but the result is more oppression of Muslims everywhere," he said.
"Some, in their anger and frustration, have resorted to indiscriminate acts of violence. Innocent people have been killed, including their fellow Muslims.
"They have not exempted the countries which have given them refuge.
"We can declare that Islam does not advocate such violence. But for as long as we act in anger, as long as we do things that frighten people – and worse – if we proclaim we are performing Islamic jihad, the fear of Muslim and Islam will not be diminished," said Dr Mahathir.
He added that some might claim that these are done by the other Muslim sects.
"Our detractors and victims do not care about different sects. For them, we are all Muslims. The differences between sects are irrelevant," he said.
The Prime Minister hopes that the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 would spark a sense of a purpose to pursue specific ventures and tangible programmes so the nations involved can start working on them.
"We gathered leaders from a few Muslim nations because we do not want the start to be unwieldy – when the differences in our perceptions are so great as to be unimplementable.
"If our efforts yield fruit, we would like to take them up with other Muslim nations that share our concerns and desire to do something to improve the plight of our brethren," he said.
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