May 08, 2005

Abdullah Says Malaysia Not Turning Into Extreme Islamic State

KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today Malaysia will never turn into an extreme Islamic state and will remain a very moderate Islamic nation.
He said Malaysians of different races respected each other and the nation was a showcase of moderation and tolerance among Muslims and non-Muslims.
"I don't believe we are on the verge of becoming an extreme Islamic state. We are a very moderate Islamic country. We respect the non-Muslims. We share the government, we have power-sharing which doesn't happen in other places.
"We celebrate each other's festivals, we have our children studying together and we do a lot of things together," he told a media conference after launching an Islam Hadhari appreciation programme here, Sunday.
Abdullah made the remarks after being asked about the concern of Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew that Malaysia might be governed by extremists in future.
Lee, who visited Malaysia two weeks ago, was quoted in news reports as saying that foreigners especially in the European countries were worried that Malaysia "is on the verge of becoming one of the extreme Islamic states and that the Islamists are going to overcome the rest".
Abdullah said such a scenario was not going to happen in Malaysia.
"I have said many times that we reject any form of extremism. Certainly, we reject and condemn terrorism.
"And today I am offering Islam Hadhari which is a very practical approach to motivate Muslims to do well and be better.
"There is no way that whatever we are doing today will make us an Islamic extremist," he said.
Abdullah said countries such as those in Europe were not worried about the concept of Islam Hadhari as the idea had received praises and generated a lot of interest from them.
"Islam Hadhari is working well. They are more concerned about what is happening in other areas, not so much about Islam Hadhari," he said.

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