PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - Malaysia should use its position as a member of the United Nations Security Council to help set the record straight on the correct meaning of the concept of jihad, said an academic.
International Islamic University of Malaysia lecturer Dr Maszlee Malik said besides the Government, religious authorities in the country had a role to play in correcting misunderstandings about jihad.
"If what the Islamic State (IS) is doing is not jihad, then we should explain what is the correct definition and guide Muslims in a constructive way on how to help innocent civilians in Syria," he said.
In his speech during the Maal Hijrah celebration yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had reiterated Malaysia's rejection of violent militant activities, such as suicide bombings, as they did not reflect the true teachings of Islam.
Maszlee said the Government should consider how it could engage in a genuine jihad in its capacity as a current member of the powerful UN body.
Religious bodies such as the National Fatwa Council, he said, should offer solutions as there was room for all Muslims in the country to play a constructive role in helping those caught by fighting in Syria.
"Civil society groups in Malaysia can do the same by organising humanitarian aid for civilians in the country while those in the media can help to highlight the plight of the innocent," said Maszlee.
In its meeting on Thursday, the Fatwa Council discussed the IS and the involvement of Malaysians fighting in Syria.
The council found that IS was acting against true Islamic teachings and that some Muslims were still confused about the context of jihad and martyrdom, Minister in the Prime Ministers Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom was quoted as saying by Bernama.