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Disturbed at the abuse of religion in politics

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say noProjek Dialog initiator Ahmad Fuad Rahmat is appealing to members of the public to endorse the Declaration of National Solidarity. Ahmad Fuad is a research fellow at the progressive Muslim think-tank Islamic Renaissance Front.

The declaration can be read in an online petition at the Projek Dialog website and has two goals: First, to call for Malaysians to speak up against racism and second, to demand the Malaysian government to ratify ICERD (the International Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination).

Projek Dialog is both alarmed and troubled at the rise of communal and racist sentiments in Malaysian politics as well as the positive attention given to racist perspectives by the news media.

It is rightly disturbed at “the abuse of religion to legitimize racist and anti-democratic politics”.

And so should all moderate Malaysian be equally disturbed and just as concerned at the abuse of religion by politicians and their pious supporters.

The declaration notes that there has been a “continuous persecution of religious minorities” coupled with “the emergence of exclusive ethnocentric ultra-nationalist organizations masquerading as patriots”.

With the current woeful lack of sustained attempts to foster real and meaningful conversations about diversity across Malaysians, the symptoms described above can only become more pronounced.

Projek Dialog has now thrown the ball to the public court “to do something” about these cleavages in Malaysia’s complexity.

Ahmad Fuad urges the public to sign the petition endorsing Projek Dialog’s message of solidarity so that we can all begin with a greater degree of seriousness, sincerity and unity a “dialogue towards envisioning a peaceful and more inclusive Malaysia for all”.

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