|Mohd Hashim Kamali|
[Zulkifli's] urge may give the wrong impression to the general public as if IAIS Malaysia is active in spreading pluralism which contradicts the teachings of Islam. Such a misleading impression is possible because some Malaysian Muslims in this country have already understood “religious pluralism” as claiming that all religions are the same.
IAIS Malaysia would like to assert that it rejects religious pluralism which claims that all religions are the same. Nevertheless, it is also conscious of the fact that in contemporary thought, whether among Muslims or non-Muslims, there are understandings of pluralism that do not contravene the teachings of Islam. IAIS Malaysia is of the view that the best way to deal with issues on religious pluralism is not to judge all such beliefs as being contrary to Islam but, on the basis of the Holy Qur’an and rational arguments, to explain to the general public the Islamic perspective on religious pluralism so that the sanctity of Islam is safeguarded.The undertone of contrition in this press release demonstrates how extremely sensitive this issue is in the Malaysian setting, forcing intellectuals into a position where they must be seen to reaffirm their adherence to the perceived basic teachings of Islam in unequivocal terms.
By way of evidence for his allegations, Zulkifli also pointed at a joint event planned for 10 May 2012 under the title 'Freedom of Religion and Pluralism in the 20th Century' in which the Iranian scholar and philosopher Seyyed Hossein Nasr was scheduled to participate, and whom Zulkifli Noordin qualifies as a 'known advocate' of religious pluralism. IAIS found itself obliged to retort that:
The plan by IAIS to hold a public lecture by Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr on the Islamic response to the concept of freedom of religion as espoused by secular belief is meant precisely to refute that belief. As a renowned Islamic scholar, he has the credentials to offer the best Islamic response to it. However due to health reasons which prevented him from travelling to this country, the initial plan to have the lecture was cancelled two months ago.As one of the pioneers of the 'Islamization of Knowledge' Project, Seyyed Hossein Nasr has become one of the leading contemporary Muslim thinkers, whose ideas are also disseminated through a foundation which bears his name.
|Seyyed Hossein Nasr|