PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has called for an end to the atrocities being committed in some Muslim countries, saying the situation has become “a burden we can no longer afford to bear”.
He urged Muslims to unite in the fight against the extremists who use religion as an excuse to commit such violence.
“And one of the most powerful tools we have to do so is al-wasatiyyah: the practise of moderation,” he said at the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) yesterday.
He called on the international community to give their all to resolve the political problems that have raised tensions in the Muslim world.
“It is time to end the killing and concentrate instead on building a common agenda for peace and prosperity,” he said when delivering Malaysia’s statement during the General Debate.
His wife Datin Rosmah Mansor was also present in the hall.
Najib has been consistent in promoting the moderation approach to tackle religious extremism since his maiden speech at the UNGA in September 2010 when he proposed the Global Movement of Moderates.
This time, he cited cases in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Pakistan where thousands of people have been killed following violence by extremist militants stemming from the conflict between the Sunni and the Shi’ite.
He said the conflict between Sunni and Shi’ite is threatening the lives of millions of Muslims, and Islam is being twisted by extremists who are deploying false arguments to foster division and justify violence.
Extremists are wrapping their perverse agenda in religious cloth; tearing families, countries and the ummah apart, he added.
“The corrosive influence of extremism cannot be easily countered. But we are not powerless to act. I believe moderation in religion and the political process can stem the loss of life and liberty in the Muslim world.
“By reaffirming our commitment to moderation – and solving the political problems that drive instability – we can seize back the centre ground.
“We can marginalise the extremists. And we can advance an agenda for peace, harmony and justice.”
He said everyone “should not mistake moderation for weakness” and to face those baying for violence and call for calm instead is not a sign of frailty but a sign of strength.
Muslim leaders, he added, should speak up and condemn violence.
On the Syrian conflict, Najib said Malaysia is opposed to any unilateral action to resolve the conflict, stressing the need for a Syrian-led inclusive political process instead.
“All sides must come together to work out a political settlement.”
He also called on the international community to intensify their efforts to explore all possible diplomatic options for peace under the auspices of the UN.
“We must find the vision and the political will to commit to a just solution for Palestine.
“We fervently hope that progress towards a viable Palestinian state – based on pre-1967 borders, and with East Jerusalem as its capital – will be made and that the US and other members of the Quartet continue to play their role as honest brokers in the process.”
He said the Arab Spring showed that the Muslim world is crying out for change.
“Governments must answer that call. We must provide good governance to fight corruption, create jobs to tackle poverty and deliver sustainable growth that builds a world of opportunity for our citizens.
“We must create economies in which people can fulfil their own aspirations, not those of extremists,” he said.
On another matter, Asean has endorsed Malaysia’s candidature as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2015-2016.
This was one of the decisions taken at an informal meeting of Asean foreign ministers on Thursday.