Testimony to close Malaysia-Saudi relations
Setting up of centre is timely because of numerous conflicts and wars in Muslim nations
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.