KUALA LUMPUR, 19 Jan 2009: Muslims must continue to engage in the voice of understanding, respect and acceptance in order to counter the misconceptions the world has of them, said the Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah.
“This voice must be empowered and emboldened,” he said at the launching of The Art of Integration: Islam In Britain photo exhibition at the Islamic Art Museum, here, today.
Raja Nazrin said Malaysia and Britain shared the values of religious, cultural and racial acceptance.
“As we continue to espouse these values, we must ardently strive to dispel all false preconceptions.”
He said such was the best response, especially following the terrible event of 11 Sept 2001 and the London bombings on 7 July 2005, which had undeniably intensified fear and suspicion towards Muslims in much of the western world.
“Under such a climate, any resistance to multiculturalism, whether direct or implied, has largely tantamount to attacks on Muslims and Islam.
“This is hardly unexpected, seeing that Islam is not only more topical at present, but more visible and most symbolically-charged.
“The result has been the uncalled-for hostility between peoples, with many suffering the effects of prejudice and discrimination,” he said.
The exhibition showcases a collection of 50 works by renowned British photographer Peter Sanders which depict the breadth and depth of Muslim life in Britain.
Raja Nazrin said the deep cultural chasm that currently existed between Islam and the West was mostly a result of misunderstanding and misconceptions about one another, exacerbated by the strident voice of a few that resounded above the moderate voice of many.
On the exhibition, Raja Nazrin said that at a time when mistrust and suspicion prevailed, especially between the Islamic world and the West, any effort at promoting respect and understanding was extremely praiseworthy.
“I am very much in support of any kind of commitment shown by any individual, organisation or country towards such efforts,” he said.
Raja Nazrin said praiseworthy were also efforts at integrating Muslim populations with the rest of the society and the wider world.
“Not just in the interest of promoting cultural diversity, but in the spirit of human rights and justice, and with due recognition to the contributions made by Muslims around the world, as much as any other citizen, to economic, cultural and political life.
“When people can see the souls of individuals through their eyes and appreciate each other as fellow human beings with precious lives, then perhaps the mistrust, hatred and suspicion can cease, and the massacres can end,” he added.
The exhibition runs from tomorrow to 20 April. — Bernama