Sunday, September 29, 2013

UN General Assembly: Full text of Najib's speech

 
Communities are dividing along religious lines, with hard-line preachers urging violence between Sunni and Shia.
 
Meanwhile, the security situation in Iraq continues to unravel, as Sunni extremist groups and Shia militia struggle for control.
 
In the last four months, nearly 3,000 people have been killed. In the last week alone, three funerals have been bombed in Baghdad. Women and children have been blown apart whilst mourning.
 
Again, the violence is carried out between Sunni and Shia. In one Iraqi town, four children from one Shia family were slain with knives.
 
In another, local people – neighbours for generations – have built blast walls to keep themselves apart. Forced displacements are growing.
 
In Pakistan, bombings have wrecked the city of Quetta, killing hundreds. Revenge attacks spread to Lahore; bombs have been detonated in Karachi.
 
In August, militants ambushed buses, dividing the passengers according to belief; those who answered incorrectly were executed.
 
Each of these conflicts has a distinct cause, but they follow a darkly familiar path.
 
Emboldened by political failures, radical preachers and militant groups turn civil conflicts into wider religious wars. Yet the preaching of such violence is completely counter to the Islamic faith.
 
The Quran not only condemns suicide, unjust war, and retribution by force; it also makes clear the Prophet’s desire for Muslims to live in peace with one another and their neighbours. 
 
Verse 8:61 says, ‘And if they incline to peace, then incline to it [also] and rely upon Allah’. Verse 5:32, that ‘whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely’. And verse 2:256 holds that ‘there shall be no compulsion in religion’. 
 
It should come as no surprise that there is no scriptural basis for the atrocities being committed in the name of Islam. Under the six higher objectives of Islamic law, the first and foremost is the protection and preservation of life.
 
Yet even during Ramadan, our holy month - when contemplation, devotion and compassion reign uppermost in Muslim minds - the extremists would not stop. More than 4,400 people died this Ramadan in Syria; 371 in Iraq; 120 in Pakistan.
 
This is a burden we can no longer afford to bear. It is time to end the killing, and concentrate instead on building a common agenda for peace and prosperity. There are two things we can do.
 
First of all, I believe that peace-loving Muslims – the overwhelming majority of Muslims – should unite against the extremists who use our religion as an excuse to commit violence.
 
And one of the most powerful tools we have to do so is al-wasatiyyah: the practice of moderation.
 
Verse 2:143 of the Quran says that ‘we have made you into a community that is justly balanced’. This concept – of balance and moderation, of social justice within our faith – is a central tenet of Islam. It asks of us that we hold to the principles displayed by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the Medina Charter.
 
Our task is to reclaim our faith, by articulating clearly the true nature of Islam: the religion of peace, of moderation, of tolerance.
 
We should speak this message clearly, so that all may hear it; and stand firm against the minority who use Islam to further violent and unjust ends.
 
We should not mistake moderation for weakness. To face those baying for violence and call instead for calm is a sign not of frailty, but of strength.
 
Muslim leaders should speak up and condemn such violence, lest their silence is mistaken for acceptance. 
 
Moderation can be practiced at the national level, as is the case in Malaysia, by choosing mutual respect and inclusivity, and strengthening the bonds between different communities and faiths.
 
All countries should reinforce their commitment to the principles of moderation; not just in religion, but for sustainable development and stable economic growth.
 
Moderation can also direct regional policy. It sits at the heart of Malaysia’s efforts to bring peace to the southern Philippines, and to Thailand’s restive south.
 
And ASEAN, which endorsed the Global Movement of Moderates, has made a commitment to peaceful settlement and the non use of force in territorial disputes.
 
And at the international level, moderation can guide our approach to the great global challenges of our age: violent extremism, sustainable development, and equitable growth.
 
Secondly, we should give our all to resolve the political problems which raise tensions in the Muslim world – starting with Syria.
 
We cannot underline strongly enough the need for a Syrian-led inclusive political process.  
 
Malaysia is against any unilateral action to resolve the conflict. All sides must come together to work out a political settlement.
 
We welcome the recent US-Russia Framework Agreement, condemn without reservation the use of chemical weapons, and call on the international community to intensify their efforts to explore all possible diplomatic options for peace under the auspices of the UN. 
 
We must also find the vision and the political will to commit to a just solution for Palestine.
 
We fervently hope that progress towards a viable Palestinian state – based on pre-1967 borders, and with East Jerusalem as its capital – will be made, and that the US and other members of the Quartet continue to play their role as honest brokers in the process.
 
Only with peace can there be development and dignity for the Palestinian people.
 
Finally, we should continue to focus on building stronger and more prosperous societies, predicated on the rule of law and the practice of democracy.
 
The Arab Spring showed that the Muslim world is crying out for change. Governments must answer that call.
 
We must provide good governance to fight corruption, create jobs to tackle poverty, and deliver sustainable growth that builds a world of opportunity for our citizens.
 
We must create economies in which people can fulfil their own aspirations, not those of extremists.
 
By acting to solve our most difficult political problems, we can bring an end to the immediate suffering - in Syria, in Palestine, and in the wider world.
 
By committing to the cause of moderation, Muslims can secure something even greater.
 
We can reclaim our religion, choosing harmony and acceptance over division and conflict.
 
And we can broadcast a vision of Islam as it is understood by Muslims around the world: as a religion of peace, tolerance, and moderation.
 
Last month, when militants attacked those buses in Pakistan, a 19 year-old Sunni student named Ghulam Mustafa stood up for such a vision.
 
Confronting the Sunni gunmen, he said killing Shiites was wrong.
 
Ghulam was shot dead, but his life was not lost in vain.
 
With guns to their heads, the Sunnis on the bus refused to identify the Shia passengers who the gunmen wanted to kill. 
 
In their defiance, we see the true measure of courage, and the true test of faith.
 
Under unimaginable pressure, facing the greatest possible threat, they chose to stand with their brothers and sisters. They chose unity over division.
 
Faced with unimaginable pressure, and the greatest possible threat, we must summon the will to do the same.
 
Thank you. 

*Taken from NST Online

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