Press for more open dialogues

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  • Monday, 12 Sep 2016

epa05438856 Remains of the lion of al-Lat, an 2,000-year-old statue that was destroyed by the Islamic States militants in the central ancient city of Palmyra in 2015, lay on the ground, Damascus, Syria, 24 July 2016. The statue was brought to the National Museum in Damascus for renovation. A Polish mission is expected in Damascus to do the renovation works. The limestone statue was discovered in 1977 by a Polish archaeological mission at the temple of al-Lat, a pre-Islamic Arabian goddess, and dated back to the 1st century BC. EPA/YOUSSEF BADAWI

THE statement made by the Perak mufti that the giant replica of the Langkawi eagle on the island is un-Islamic, implying that it should be pulled down, is yet another case of religious extremism making inroads into the cultural and recreational life of the country, creating fears that the conservative wings among the ulama are bent on turning back the clock on the socio-economic progress of the country.

Most Malaysians are moderates and realists. They would see the giant eagle as a symbol of the tourist island’s legendary history and that it is an appropriate way of advertising Langkawi to the tourist world as a land with a mystical past. The eagle statue has become an iconic brand which has been recognised as the most visible part of the island’s tourist attraction. I am glad that Kedah politicians have spoken out strongly against the extremist view for the eagle replica in Langkawi to be removed.

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