Tes­ti­mony to close Malaysia-Saudi re­la­tions

Set­ting up of cen­tre is timely be­cause of nu­mer­ous con­flicts and wars in Mus­lim na­tions

New Straits Times - - Opinion - xydee@me­di­aprima.com.my The writer, a for­mer as­sis­tant news edi­tor at the Busi­ness Times, is NST’s Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan bureau chief.

MALAYSIA has long been recog­nised as a world leader in pro­mot­ing and bro­ker­ing peace through var­i­ous ef­forts, span­ning from Africa to the Mid­dle East, south­ern Thai­land and the south­ern Philip­pines.

Thus, it was a great hon­our and a feather in the cap when Saudi Ara­bia an­nounced the set­ting up of the King Sal­man Cen­tre for In­ter­na­tional Peace at the Is­lamic Sci­ence Univer­sity Malaysia (USIM) in Ni­lai, Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan, to pro­mote world peace and sta­bil­ity.

The cen­tre, which was set up in con­junc­tion with Saudi Ara­bia ruler King Sal­man Ab­du­laziz alSaud’s state visit to Malaysia last week, will be launched in three months and is tes­ti­mony to the close and cor­dial re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.

It will be es­tab­lished in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Saudi Ara­bian De­fence Min­istry’s In­tel­lec­tual War­fare Cen­tre, Malaysian De­fence Min­istry’s Se­cu­rity and De­fence Cen­tre, USIM and the Mus­lim World League.

Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak said the two gov­ern­ments had agreed to es­tab­lish the cen­tre in Malaysia.

It will fo­cus on com­bat­ing ex­treme nar­ra­tives as well as the need to in­ten­sify joint ef­forts to com­bat ter­ror­ism in all forms and man­i­fes­ta­tions, what­ever the ori­gin.

USIM Vice-Chan­cel­lor Pro­fes­sor Datuk Dr Musa Ah­mad said the recog­ni­tion was a big hon­our for the univer­sity, coun­try and in­ter­na­tional Mus­lim com­mu­nity.

The set­ting up of the cen­tre is per­ti­nent and timely be­cause of nu­mer­ous con­flicts and wars rav­aging Mus­lim na­tions, such as in Syria and Pales­tine.

It is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of all Mus­lim stake­hold­ers to bring peace and sta­bil­ity back to Mus­lim na­tions, as well as el­e­vat­ing the sta­tus of the faith. This re­spon­si­bil­ity can be spear­headed by Malaysia and Saudi Ara­bia.

Both coun­tries have agreed on the need to in­ten­sify and con­cert their ef­forts to con­front ex­trem­ism, re­ject sec­tar­i­an­ism and move the Is­lamic world to­wards a bet­ter fu­ture.

This is in line with ob­jec­tives of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Is­lamic Co­op­er­a­tion (OIC), that is to achieve in­ter­na­tional peace and se­cu­rity.

The vi­tal part is the recog­ni­tion by Saudi Ara­bia and the Mus­lim world that Malaysia can lead ef­forts to counter the threat of ex­trem­ism and play a sig­nif­i­cant role in the global arena.

USIM will do well in manag­ing the cen­tre un­der the lead­er­ship of De­fence Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hus­sein, as well as the Mus­lim World League.

This is be­cause USIM has the ex­per­tise to as­sist the gov­ern­ment in dis­sem­i­nat­ing the true teach­ings of Is­lam to both Mus­lims and non-Mus­lims alike.

At the same time, USIM can ex­plain in de­tail the con­cept of

wasatiyyah, or Is­lamic mod­er­a­tion, as prop­a­gated by both Malaysia and Saudi Ara­bia.

USIM will be able to con­vey the gov­ern­ment’s as­pi­ra­tions as it has abun­dant Is­lamic academia at its dis­posal. Malaysia will be able to dis­sem­i­nate well the mes­sage that vi­o­lence should not be linked with any race, colour or re­li­gious back­ground.

It is en­vi­sioned that by 2050, the world will have a global pop­u­la­tion of nine bil­lion peo­ple, of which, three bil­lion are Mus­lims.

It is be­lieved that the resur­gence of Is­lam will not be in the Mid­dle East, but in Asia, of which Malaysia will be at the cen­tre of that growth.

Malaysia is renowned as the biggest is­suer of Is­lamic bonds, a world-class man­ager of haj pil­grim­age and also a ma­jor player in Is­lamic bank­ing.

At a di­a­logue with stu­dents in USIM last month on “Trans­for­masi Na­sional 2050: From an Is­lamic Point of View”, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi said on the in­ter­na­tional front, Malaysia would con­tinue to be well re­garded among OIC coun­tries be­cause, in the past, it had played a dom­i­nant role in re­solv­ing dis­putes.

“There is no place for re­li­gious ex­trem­ists in the Is­lamic world be­cause stud­ies have shown that 87.5 per cent of ex­trem­ists from other coun­tries have no ba­sic Is­lamic back­ground, which is proof that ex­trem­ism does not orig­i­nate solely from the Mus­lim world,” said Zahid.

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