INTERFAITH cooperation is the way forward in maintaining unity among ASEAN member states and protecting their people from being drawn into radicalisation and violent extremism, a visiting Indonesian religious leader said.
Kyai Hj Hasyim Muzadi (pictured), a member of Indonesia’s Presidential Advisory Board, said ASEAN member states need to understand that they have people practising different religions in their countries.
“Differences in religious beliefs should not harm the unity and humanity,” he told reporters on the sidelines of his visit here yesterday.
The religious leader had earlier this week met His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
He said ASEAN should set a good example of promoting common understanding among people with different religious backgrounds.
To combat terrorism, he said ASEAN countries should promote “moderate thoughts of Islam, and put the religion in its place”.
“ASEAN should combat terrorism through moderation, not fundamentalism, not liberalism because moderation is the balance between faith and tolerance,” he said.
“If we have faith without tolerance, we will head towards fundamentalism and radicalism. If we radicalise religion, we will probably lose our faith and integrity in Islam or in other religions,” he added.
Kyai also spoke on the importance of building unity in diversity and putting into practice the rule of law.
“Each country in ASEAN must safeguard their people (against radicalisation and violent extremism) by putting into practice the rules and unity in the respective nation, such unity will subsequently be implemented together in the region as a whole,” he said.
Kyai said the real threat in connection to extremism includes an influx of thoughts that did not originate from Southeast Asia, but from other regions such as the Middle East or Europe.
“When such thoughts spread in the ASEAN region, what they bring in is not their religious faith or rituals but their political system and political situation from their country of origin,” he added.
The cleric also spoke on the importance of building unity in diversity and putting into practice the rule of law.
Earlier this month, the Special ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism was held in Kuala Lumpur, in view of the security threats terrorist groups pose.
The Brunei Times
Saturday, October 31, 2015