Stopping religious exclusivism in Malaysia from taking root (Opinion, Page A32)

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The Straits Times

This was an article contribution by Dr Norshahril Saat, Adjunct Lecturer from the Department of Malay Studies at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, in which he discussed a recent incident where the Sultan of Johor, Ibrahim Iskandar, condemned a laundrette in Muar for its “Muslim-only” services. Malaysia’s Council of Rulers, which is made up of all nine sultans in the country, echoed the Sultan of Johor’s unease, urging Malaysians to uphold the country’s cherished multicultural, inclusive and tolerant values.

Dr Saat opined that to develop a more inclusive society, a top-down intervention would not suffice without grassroots support. He added that we do not want Muslims to tolerate non-Muslims (and vice versa) because of their fear of the law, or because their leaders said so, but because they truly understand the essence of upholding diversity and freedom found in Islam. He added that restricting grassroots intellectual inputs means shutting the doors to progress, as society is exposed only to ideas promoted by those in power whom they are familiar with.

Click here to read the article.

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