Interview with Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Former Prime Minister of Malaysia and Patron of the International Institute of Advance Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia
(Kuala Lumpur, 27 January 2013)
KDC: A number of Muslim countries have experienced conflicts and bloodshed in recent decades, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Southern Thailand, to mention a few. What policies might Muslim nations collaborate upon, on an Islamic basis, to promote security and reconciliation?
TAB: The problems faced by these countries are many. Poverty, unemployment, trans-border relationships with other countries, instability in internal affairs, and war are among the major problems which need to be addressed. There is also another problem we have noticed recently, which is truly our Muslim problem: sectarian conflicts. It is not easy to provide solutions to all these problems right away. We have to begin with analysing our internal situation first. We must ensure we have a program aiming to eradicate poverty. Poverty can be the root of terrorism and extremism and many other problems: it creates anger and desperation and leads people to fight. So it is very important to deal with poverty issues first.
The approach that has to be made in order to solve these problems is to develop our education system. The education should be of quality; we just cannot have one madrassah and think that people are going to be educated! With quality education we will be able to create human capital, which we especially need in order to eradicate poverty. At the same time, these programs will help us to improve our economy.