Against The Grain: Uprooting exclusivist attitude towards religion and race

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The Edge Markets

This was an article contribution by Associate Professor Syed Farid Alatas from the Department of Sociology at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, in which he noted that the recently released Racial Discrimination Report 2016 by Pusat KOMAS, a non-profit social outfit, concluded that there has been a rise in racial and ethnic discrimination in Malaysia. Assoc Prof Alatas said there are many reasons that can be brought up to explain this state of affairs, one of which was the rise of hate speech and the opportunity that social media provides for the spread of hate speech.  He also added that one factor that goes into the making of prejudice and discrimination along the lines of race and religion is religious extremism, which can be said to be a threat to inter-religious and inter-ethnic harmony in society to the extent that extremism advocates an exclusivist attitude towards religion and race.

Assoc Prof Alatas felt a balance between an inclusivist and exclusivist approach is needed, and that as far as Muslims in Malaysia are concerned, there is a need for them to become more acquainted with their religious tradition such that they develop a more inclusivist orientation towards other religious communities. He surmised that if they fail to be guided by the ideals of Islam and the practice of the Muslims of the past, Malaysia will eventually be dragged into inter-religious and inter-ethnic unrest.

Click here to read the full article.

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