NEW YORK - Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has called for an end to the atrocities being committed in some Muslim countries, saying the situation has become "a burden we can no longer afford to bear".
He urged Muslims to unite in the fight against the extremists who use religion as an excuse to commit such violence.
"And one of the most powerful tools we have to do so is al-wasatiyyah: the practise of moderation," he said at the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) yesterday.
He called on the international community to give their all to resolve the political problems that have raised tensions in the Muslim world.
"It is time to end the killing and concentrate instead on building a common agenda for peace and prosperity," he said when delivering Malaysia's statement during the General Debate.
His wife Datin Rosmah Mansor was also present in the hall.
Najib has been consistent in promoting the moderation approach to tackle religious extremism since his maiden speech at the UNGA in September 2010 when he proposed the Global Movement of Moderates.
This time, he cited cases in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Pakistan where thousands of people have been killed following violence by extremist militants stemming from the conflict between the Sunni and the Shi'ite.
He said the conflict between Sunni and Shi'ite is threatening the lives of millions of Muslims, and Islam is being twisted by extremists who are deploying false arguments to foster division and justify violence.
Extremists are wrapping their perverse agenda in religious cloth; tearing families, countries and the ummah apart, he added.
"The corrosive influence of extremism cannot be easily countered. But we are not powerless to act. I believe moderation in religion and the political process can stem the loss of life and liberty in the Muslim world.