Prime Minister Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razzak produced another major success for Malaysia’s global image, and for inter-faith dialogue, this week when he established formal diplomatic ties between Kuala Lumpur and the Holy See.
During a meeting with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in Rome yesterday, Prime Minister Najib publicly reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to freedom of religion and stated that his goal is to promote international bonds of friendship between Malaysia and the Vatican. The formal agreement now gives the country’s nearly-3 million Roman Catholics and Christians an additional voice inside Malaysia.
This agreement has been years in the making and it is proof positive that the Prime Minister and his government are serious about religious diversity and protecting religious minorities. The Prime Minister clearly made the case to the Holy See that his majority-Muslim country is committed to respecting and protecting its religious minorities since the Vatican’s main criteria for agreeing diplomatic relations is the promotion and protection of interfaith dialogue within a country, and the absence of religious persecution.
It is also a vindication of the Prime Minister’s willingness to expend personal energy and political capital to tackle Malaysia’s toughest issues—which is why it has been warmly welcomed by Malaysia’s non-governmental commentators and the international community more broadly. Read more here!