Special Lecture: "Polarization of Malaysian Youths: Reflecting on the Dynamics of Religion & Politics"
10:00am - 12noon
In recent times, Malaysia has witnessed a concerning trend: a rising polarization among its youth, primarily stemming from divergent interpretations and presentations of Islam. This phenomenon has far-reaching implications for the nation's social fabric and calls for a closer examination of the factors contributing to this divide.
Malaysia, known for its cultural diversity and a predominantly Muslim population, has prided itself on being a harmonious and inclusive society for decades. However, in the present day, this social cohesion appears to be eroding, particularly among the younger generation. The causes of this polarization are multifaceted, but the central issue lies in how Islam is understood and conveyed.
Malaysia is home to a wide spectrum of Islamic teachings, ranging from moderate and inclusive interpretations to more conservative and exclusive ones. This diversity is reflective of the global Islamic landscape, where different schools of thought and theological perspectives coexist.
Additionally, the political landscape in Malaysia has further fuelled this polarization. Political parties and leaders have sometimes exploited religious sentiments for electoral gains, deepening the divide along religious lines. This has led to a sense of identity politics among the youth, where loyalty to a particular interpretation of Islam is intertwined with political affiliation. The prominence and reach of these differing interpretations, amplified through social media and digital platforms, have played a significant role in shaping the beliefs and attitudes of Malaysian youth.
Addressing the growing polarization among Malaysian youth necessitates a multi-pronged approach. There must be a commitment to open dialogue and respectful discourse. Encouraging conversations that bridge the gap between different interpretations of Islam can help foster a more tolerant and inclusive society.
In conclusion, the growing polarization among Malaysian youth due to differing interpretations of Islam is a complex issue that demands careful consideration. It is imperative for the nation to preserve its tradition of religious diversity and social harmony. Through open dialogue, educational reform, and responsible political leadership, Malaysia can hope to bridge these divides and create a more united and inclusive society for future generations.
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International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia.
Jalan Ilmu, Off Jalan Prof Diraja Ungku Aziz (formely Jalan Universiti), 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.