Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has released his first book since taking office, a collection of speeches that outline a roadmap for Muslims, and tackle issues from poverty to terrorism, the book's publishers said Thursday.
"Islam Hadhari: A Model Approach for Development and Progress" hit bookstores in Malaysia March 1 and is believed "to be selling quite well," said Renee Koh, a spokeswoman for MPH Group Publishing, which issued the book and runs Malaysia's largest bookshop chain.
The book compiles 12 speeches advocating Muslim moderation that Abdullah delivered in Malaysia, Australia, Britain, Germany, India, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan after he succeeded Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister in October 2003.
Abdullah, who chairs the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, is respected as an Islamic scholar who pioneered the concept of Islam Hadhari, or progressive Islam, which aims to balance religious piety with economic and technological development.
"We are confident that Islam Hadhari can help bring Muslims into the 21st century and integrate them in the modern economy," Abdullah said in one of the book's speeches.
"Islam Hadhari promotes tolerance and understanding, moderation and peace, certainly enlightenment," Abdullah told a conference in Pakistan last year. "Therefore, we believe it is also the antidote to extremism and militancy."
Malaysia is widely considered one of the Muslim world's most peaceful and stable countries, with an ethnic Malay Muslim majority that lives in harmony with large Buddhist, Christian and Hindu minorities. It is also among Southeast Asia's richest, most industrialized nations.
MPH did not immediately have details of the book's initial print run and sales projections. The publishers are planning to eventually sell the book in other countries, reports the AP.