Silence of the Islamic elite

(FMT) – It’s a bigger tragedy for Islam than fanatical speech or actions, says an academic.

A university professor has criticised Islamic officials and Muslim scholars and politicians for what he alleges is their silence in the face of extremism in the form of speeches, writings, teachings and acts of violence.

Tajuddin Rasdi, who teaches Islamic architecture at USCI, says their silence was a bigger tragedy for Islam than extremist speech or behaviour themselves because it could be interpreted as indifference.

“It’s worse if it’s interpreted as quiet agreement,” he told FMT.

He said he was sad to observe that institutions of learning had been organising forums that had essentially attacked non-Muslims or those who appeared to defy mainstream Islamic mores, such as the LGBT community.

One such forum was the provocatively titled Forum Kafir Harbi held at Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia last year.

“The forum was about whom it is lawful to kill,” he said.

He said one of the things that needed to be done to overcome such problems would be to review the curricula used in traditional Islamic education.

“They have their limitations,” he said. “I am not saying they are no good but the premises and pedagogy may not be relevant to a modern and metropolitan nation-state political construct.”

He said students should be taught, for example, that many religious conflicts were rooted in politics.

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