KUALA LUMPUR: Books providing proper religious education can help prevent people from being swayed by militancy, says the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim).
Ikim director Prof Datin Dr Azizan Baharuddin (pix) said there was a lot of misunderstanding about religion nowadays, especially among terrorist groups who did not treat Islam as a religion of peace.
Speaking at the launch of four books by Ikim.fm radio personalities on Monday, Dr Azizan said through such books and programmes, the institute believed it could insulate against extremism by familiarising Muslims with their religion holistically.
“When they are not knowledgeable, it’s like stumbling around in the dark, and they become easier to fool and lead astray,” she said.
The four books launched during the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair at PWTC were Golden Rule by Ustaz Muhammad Abdullah Al-Amin, Lasik untuk Jiwa by Datuk Prof Dr Muhaya Mohamad, Segelas Air Segenggam Kopi by Datuk Ustaz Badli Shah Alauddin, and Laba di Sebalik Bala by Pahrol Mohd Juoi.
“These ustaz all bring a unique perspective of how religion fits into your life, as they come from diverse professional backgrounds including doctors and lawyers,” she said, adding that the books were based on transcripts of lectures they had given on Ikim.fm.
The books were published by Galeri Ilmu Sdn Bhd, which had produced 52 books on various religious topics, so far this year.
Asked why many Malaysians still got involved with militant activity, she said it came down to a dearth of love in the community and a lack of emotional management by families.
“With advancements in social media, these vulnerable individuals are easily approached and won over by militants, who pretend to care for them,” she said.
“Some women even believe marrying a militant on a jihad was a shortcut to heaven,” she added, referring to the spate of Malaysian women who had attempted to travel to Syria to marry Islamic State militants.
In a report, Bukit Aman Counter Terrorism Special Branch principal assistant director Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said over 20 women had been conned and stranded on the Turkey-Syria border after selling their homes and taking loans to make the trip to Syria, only to be deported back to Malaysia.
Asked about the case of former Master’s student Siti Noor Aishah Atam, who said she wanted to marry a militant during her trial for possessing books related to terrorism, Azizan warned that the wrong books could lead Muslims astray.
Siti Noor Aishah was jailed five years after being found guilty of owning books related to several militant groups.