Islam and Critical Challenges in Multi-Religious Malaysia

HJ Mohd Yassin
Distinguished Lecture

The Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, HE Tan Sri Muhyiddin Hj Mohd Yassin, visited the Centre in Hilary Term, in order to deliver a lecture on ‘Islam and critical challenges in multi-religious Malaysia’.
In front of a capacity audience at the Taylor Institute, the Deputy Prime Minister outlined the Malaysian government’s commitment to the ‘ideal of harmonious co-existence’, emphasizing that it is ever more important that ‘tolerance and moderation among nationalities’ be promoted. His wide-ranging speech considered the various methods that could be used to achieve inter-religious harmony, and examined some of the challenges facing it.
Beginning by noting that both in global and historical contexts religious tolerance is becoming increasingly pertinent, he drew on Malaysia’s rich history of diversity and its acceptance of difference to offer potential models for effective religious governance. By invoking the great Malaysian leaders of the past, and their commitment to building ‘the nation upon the spirit of accommodation’, he ably argued that it is the responsibility of people of all faiths to be united against the forces of intolerance.
Even though there are always challenges to be dealt with, he outlined his belief that a more tolerant world would inevitably eliminate all forms of extremism. Therefore, our focus must always be upon ‘the shared common values and purposes that we all hold dear’, if we are to achieve a truly global and interactive society. Having acknowledged the important work that the Centre undertakes which contributes to achieving this goal, and thanking it for giving him the opportunity to present his ideas, the Deputy Prime Minister answered questions from the audience.