KUALA LUMPUR, Muslims in the country are reminded not to fall into the new Khawarij and Takfiri ideologies and to avoid extremism, but instead to adhere strictly to the teachings of Islam based on the principles and teachings of Ahl al-Sunnah Wal Jamaah (ASWJ) in terms of creed, law, and morality. The Director-General of the Malaysian Institute of Islamic Understanding (IKIM), Assoc Prof Datuk Dr Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil, said that the new Khawarij ideology involves condemning any government perceived as 'oppressive', while Takfiri ideology involves calling a man 'kafir' (disbeliever). He said that the extremist group, known as the 'ghuluw', goes to extremes in understanding and taking certain actions, and extremism in religion is an excessive attitude towards religious commandments. 'IKIM is aligned with the government's efforts to constantly monitor Islamic teachings on all platforms to ensure they do not deviate from the teachings of ASWJ. 'This is in line with the decision of the Special Muzakarah o f the Fatwa Committee of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs (MKI) on May 5, 1996, which stated that Muslims in Malaysia should only follow Islamic teachings based on the principles of ASWJ,' he said in a statement today. Prior to this, Religious Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Dr Mohd Na'im Mokhtar disclosed that the rise of the Khawarij and Takfiri ideologies in the country has become alarming. On the issue of calling a man 'kafir', Mohamed Azam said that there are at least 310 instances of the word 'kafir' mentioned in the Quran and Hadith, but according to the eminent global scholar Sheikh Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi, there are only two verses in the Quran that directly address them as 'O disbelievers,' namely in Surah at-Tahrim verse 7 and Surah al-Kafirun verse 1. Mohamed Azam said this emphasis given to the word shows the distinction between the faith and disbelief of an individual, and its usage remains unchanged. 'Considering different circumstances and contexts such as interactions between Muslims and non-Muslims, according to Sheikh Dr Yusuf and the Federal Territories Mufti Assoc Prof Dr Luqman Abdullah, it is permissible to refer to people of different religions as non-Muslims or 'Ghayru Muslim'. 'This term is more harmonious in the context of Malaysia's religious diversity, and in the ongoing study of the Malaysian Harmony Charter (PHM) conducted by IKIM, there are aspects emphasised towards efforts to create a harmonious society that requires the cooperation of all Malaysian communities. 'Therefore, the approach to living in peace and harmony as emphasised in Fiqh al-Ta'ayush (peaceful coexistence) should be applied in all layers of society, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or culture,' he added. Source: BERNAMA News Agency