PM Calls for a Rejection of Extremism, Acceptance of Others as Equals

February 10, 2006

Source: BBC News

On February 10, 2006 BBC News reported, "Malaysia's prime minister says a huge chasm has opened between the West and Islam, fuelled by Muslim frustrations over Western foreign policy. Abdullah Badawi, seen as promoting a moderate form of Islam in largely Muslim Malaysia, said many Westerners saw Muslims as congenital terrorists. As he spoke at a conference in Kuala Lumpur, thousands protested outside at cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad... Addressing an international conference intended to promote dialogue between Western and Islamic thinkers, Mr Abdullah said Islam and the West should stop demonising each other, and try to curb extremism and promote moderation... He said mere talk and being nice to one another were not enough, and mutual respect should replace hegemony. 'They think Osama bin Laden speaks for the religion and its followers,' he said, quoted by the Associated Press news agency. 'The demonisation of Islam and the vilification of Muslims, there is no denying, is widespread within mainstream Western society.' But Muslims for their part had to avoid 'sweeping denunciation of Christians, Jews and the West', he added. 'The West should treat Islam the way it wants Islam to treat the West and vice versa. They should accept one another as equals,' he said."