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Uphold genuine mutual respect to prevent terrorism

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There must be no expressed or secretly harboured sympathy for terrorists, says Mohamed Arshad Raji.

The recent horrific shooting and bombing incidents in New Zealand and Sri Lanka sent shock waves to people all over the world, including Malaysia.

The culprit of the two mosques shootings in New Zealand claimed to do so because of revenge against past atrocities by Muslim terrorist groups. For the multiple suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, the IS has now claimed responsibility in an apparent tit-for-tat.

Such bombing and atrocious crimes are barbaric, senseless, insane and give a negative image to the religion they claimed to protect and defend; religion has nothing to do with it. All religions advocate peace, love and compassion.

Talk of revenge against another religion, proselytisation of minors without parental consent, ridiculing another’s religion or even making speeches and delivering sermons comparing religions have no place under the Malaysian sun. Genuine mutual respect is the first step to prevent acts of terrorism happening in our country. To prevent inter-religious animosity from taking root in our society, we must stop such uncalled for practices immediately.

Every Malaysian citizen irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation must adopt zero tolerance attitude towards any form of terrorism, irrespective of who or which religious group commits it. There must be no expressed or secretly harboured sympathy for terrorists.

Patriot calls on the inspector general of police and the police to have close surveillance on suspects and saboteurs or terrorists. All personnel must be on alert at all times, monitor the activities of these people and prevent any untoward incident from happening. Only by foiling attempts at terrorist acts can the image of the police force be redeemed after the disastrous findings by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).

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Patriot calls on the military intelligence unit to beef up counter-terrorism efforts and to work through the National Security Council on intelligence sharing. This is crucial as counter-terrorism is a joint responsibility. If any one party fails, it equates to the whole nation failing. What happened in those two countries was a lapse in their intelligence agency information gathering and sharing.

Patriot calls on the people to be vigilant against terrorism. Report suspicious activities. Do not be party to disseminating hate news or messages against any religion. Tell those who make such postings to stop.

The role of the Malay rulers now is important to call for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation to unite and fight the scourge of terrorism. Only through the collective effort of all can we possibly prevent acts of terrorism from happening in our country.

Retired Brigadier General Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji is president of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan.

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