PUTRAJAYA - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has urged Muslims to offer non-Muslims a clearer picture of what Islam is all about.
The Prime Minister said Islam had largely been misunderstood in today's society.
"Some fear it. Others have formed stereotypes about it. It is up to us to change these perceptions and offer a clearer picture of what Islam is all about. Our endeavour should be less about influencing people and more about changing perceptions by offering the truth," he said in a message to participants of the Putrajaya Premier Lecture Series here yesterday.
The lecture, Past Achievements and Present Challenges in the Muslim World, was given by Dr Farhan Ahmad Nizami, founder director of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, a Prince of Wales Fellow at Magdalen College and an Emeritus Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford.
Najib, who attended the lecture, said Muslims should also see their role in reaching out to non-Muslims as part of their responsibility to bring back the glorious days of Islam while repairing relationships that had been significantly frayed or altogether destroyed over the past decades.
He also said Malaysia, where Islam was the central and dominant religion, was more than ready to bring Islam to the whole world for the next chapter.
"In our endeavour to move beyond fear and distrust and provide scope for both universality and cultural authenticity, we will draw on the essential wisdom that is the common heritage of all humankind.
"We believe we can merge into one mutually respectful society if we transcend all of our differences and champion each other's interests with One Voice, One Aspiration," he said.
On the lecture series, Najib said it provided a platform for a healthy discussion on Islam which was beneficial on many levels.
"While we present new knowledge and offer different angles at which to look at Islam, it is our hope that this effort will open our minds to a new and refreshing way to see, appreciate and experience Islam.
"By doing this, we can begin to nurture a more intellectual society that can compete at the same level of understanding as others from around the globe," he said.