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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 ― Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) said today that liberalism can only co-exist with Islam if it is willing to submit to an Islamic system, as the ideology is a malleable man-made system compared to a religion that is bestowed by God.
Speaking in a forum on liberalism and faith, Isma president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman said Islam cannot be reformed or amended by any parties, chiding so-called “liberal Muslim” for using Western philosophies born of “dark ages” in doing so.
“Liberalism can live hand-in-hand with faith, only if it’s willing to live under an Islamic system,” Abdullah said in the Liberalism Conference held by think-tank Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS).
“If liberalism tries to redefine or reform Islam following the demands of liberal basis, that maybe can never be accepted by Islam.”
Abdullah had equated liberalism to religious pluralism, saying the ideology was borne out of the ancient “dark ages” in the Western world, in response to the domination of the Church.
In response, Dr Patricia Martinez from the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) — which represents over 90 per cent of the churches in the country — chided Abdullah Zaik for lumping liberalism together with Christianity and Judaism as scapegoats.
She also took issue with the insistence of several state Islamic religious authorities that there is a liberal-Christian agenda to corrupt Muslims during Valentine’s Day, and the recent claim that whistleblower site Sarawak Report is part of an alleged Jewish-Christian agenda.
“These are very serious accusations against us. We are Malaysian citizens too,” said the CFM executive council member.
Last year, Isma had organised a closed-door multi-national seminar on tackling the alleged threat of liberalism, where Abdullah accused proponents of civil rights and liberties for championing their causes only for the sake of challenging religious values.
The group had last year stepped up its attack against what it called “liberalism” movement, saying Malaysians must stop the country from becoming a “liberal democratic” nation, alleging that it is a plot by the so-called global Zionist movement.