IPOH, Oct 19 — Islamophobia is often seen to be triggered whenever an election takes place in Western countries, said Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
He said candidates or political parties contesting in the elections were likely to make Islam a target or campaign asset to win the support of voters.
“Hence, the rise of hatred against Islamophobia actually hasn’t subsided years after the Sept 11 incident, and in fact, it has become more extreme,” he said.
He was speaking to reporters after delivering a speech titled ‘Young Leadership of Malaysia’ in conjunction with the World Conference on Islamic Thought and Civilisation (WCIT) 2016, here, today.
The three-day WCIT 2016, which began yesterday, is a biennial conference held to discuss current issues, and has been organised by Universiti Sultan Azlan Shah (USAS) since 2012, with participation from 15 countries.
Khairy, who is also Umno Youth chief, said all parties needed to take steps to promote the true picture of Islam to the world, so as to curb Islamophobia.
Yesterday, the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah when opening the conference said the international media bombarded the Muslim world daily with negative images of its youths, as perpetrators of violence, jihadists, warriors and terrorists, or running away from bombed cities.
On a related development, Khairy said the Malaysian Institute for Youth Research (Iyres) was now in the final stage of a study to determine the cause of youths joining terrorist organisations.
He said the study which began in August also involved the police and Prisons Department.
“We have interviewed young people who were arrested for involvement in IS, so we hope to receive answers from them to know why they were involved,” he said.
Khairy hoped the study could be completed by December to be tabled at the Cabinet Committee on Youth Development meeting in January, for consideration.
Earlier, Khairy in his speech called upon Malaysian youths to shed the apathy and ‘tidak apa’ attitude and take a keener interest in the country’s affairs.
“Participate and contribute. It is your country as much as it is anyone else’s. If you want to see a better Malaysia, it will require your participation and being present to make a difference.
“Your voice matters. It is not insignificant. It is important to the country. Do not blame others if your apathy impedes you from making a positive change,” he said. — Bernama