Displaying items by tag: muslim solidarity

Thursday, 12 January 2023 16:29

Anwar's role in building bridges

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's priority is to address the rising cost of living and the effects of the expected global economic slowdown.

In addition, the country's chasm between progressive and conservative groups must be addressed by him.

Anwar's leadership in global Muslim affairs in particular should not be taken for granted given his international recognition and close ties to world leaders.

Leaders from Muslim nations — such as Brunei, Indonesia, Turkiye, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Qatar — have expressed their high regard for Anwar.

Their correspondence and visits after Anwar was named prime minister make this clear.

This may suggest that Malaysia and other nations are forming a stronger alliance. The nation's new leadership may have an effect on the Muslim world.

Even though the majority of Muslim countries are plagued by authoritarian governments, corrupt ruling elite and weak civic movements, the election of a Muslim leader who is committed to democratic processes and principles is a significant advancement.

Anwar's biggest challenge will be to uphold moral commitment to manage Malaysia's relations with other countries while safeguarding the country's interests.

With the right approaches, the opposing forces might actually work in harmony.

How Anwar responds to the Uighur issue in China is one of those tasks.

Maintaining positive relations with China is essential throughout the economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic because it is Malaysia's largest trading partner and largest foreign investor.

The real challenge is in striking a balance in bilateral relationship with China while remaining tough about the plight of the Uighurs.

In another area, following the pandemic, the Middle East and North Africa region is undergoing economic recovery, particularly with rising oil and gas prices.

The region has witnessed a breakthrough in the normalisation of relations between Israel and several Arab countries.

This will have an impact on the existence of the Palestinian state and the fate of its citizens.

Malaysia should take a stand against this trend, especially now, with a prime minister who advocates for the Palestinian people's right to peace and dignity.

Meanwhile, Syrians are facing increasing suffering and hardships as a result of a decade of war.

Political turmoil in Iraq is escalating, with parties ready to use force once more.

Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country and the site of one of the world's worst man-made humanitarian disasters in decades, is witnessing the end of a United Nations-mediated truce, after warring parties rejected a proposal presented by a UN special envoy to extend and expand the agreement.

In this regard, Anwar, who has close ties with leaders in Turkiye, Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries, could assist these regions obtain a peaceful resolution.

On the fate of the Rohingya, Anwar, as a Muslim leader, might have to address the issues the minority group is facing.

The Rohingya in Myanmar remain marginalised, without a legal identity and are considered stateless, while those who fled their country struggle as refugees due to their inability to find employment and provide for their children's education.

It is time for Malaysia to develop a new refugee policy, including taking the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees into account.

Another issue that Anwar may need to address is Islamophobia.

Due to insulting remarks made by certain countries, including India's ruling party officials, about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, there is increasing friction between India and Muslim nations.

Nations — including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Indonesia and the Maldives — have protested to the Modi administration since June on the issue.

Anwar might have a role to play in the reconciliation between these countries given his image as a globalist who has strong ties with prominent Muslim countries as well as the Indian government.

Aside from political and security concerns, discovering strategic leadership roles and influences to cater to the challenges faced by Muslim global societies is critical for Anwar to ensure Malaysia can face the global economic downturn and adverse effects of climate change through partnership, expertise and resource exchanges between Muslim countries.

The writer is acting deputy CEO and associate fellow, International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia

Published in: The New Straits Times, Thursday 10 January 2023

Source : https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2023/01/869434/anwars-role-building-bridges

In the past, fasting was attributed to human spiritual belief in worshiping God for meditation reasons. It has been practised for thousands of years in serving various purposes of life. It is still a practice today. Generally, the practitioners are subjected to certain dietary procedure which trains them to be better disciplined to gain better self-control.

Fasting to Muslims is a practice of abstaining from food and drinks, sexual contact, arguments and unkind language or acts from dawn to sunset. It is the fourth pillar of Islam. 

KUALA LUMPUR: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al Mustafa Billah Shah called upon Muslim countries to broaden their efforts to benefit the wider spectrum of the ummah.

The ruler, in his royal address at the opening of the fifth Kuala Lumpur Summit today, said it was imperative for Muslim nations to band together to improve their collective wellbeing, and this should be done even as the ummah were facing severe challenges in many parts of the world.

He said this could be done through open dialogue among Muslim nations, while also stressing the importance of each Muslim nation to maintain good governance.

“Perhaps the time has come for us to broaden our individual efforts to transcend towards the wider ummah (community).

“Let us all join together and pledge our commitment to practice what we perform five times a day in our global personas, to improve the lives of our ummah and rebuild the Islamic civilisation to where it was before. For today, collectively, Islamic countries have come a long way, with great achievements.

“Yet, we are confronted by some of the most difficult challenges of the developing world. Many segments of our communities are still victims of poverty and underdevelopment. Basic necessities of food and shelter remain elusive to many," Sultan Abdullah said in a speech in front an audience of hundreds who included three heads of states from the Islamic world.

The summit is themed "The Role of Development in Achieving National Soverieignty."

The king, who is the country's head of the Islamic religion, said that the concept of Hiwar, which means dialogue in Arabic, was crucial in efforts to achieve development in accordance with the principles of Islam.

The concept should also be adopted when clarifying misconceptions about the religion, he said.

“Dialogue should be further promoted to correct misunderstandings about Islam, and as a way to understand one another, to cooperate despite our differences and to engage in the healthy pursuit for excellence.

"The Quran maintains that the primary goal of dialogue is to promote the common good – al-khayra – for the whole of humankind.

“It remains the ideal basis for interaction among people from different backgrounds. Through the use of dialogue, Muslims will have a powerful platform to correct the misconceptions of their faith among people of other religions and ideologies, allowing us to improve our interactions and relationships with other cultures and civilisations."

In this regard, he said the KL Summit was an important platform for Islamic leaders, scholars and others to meet and signify unity.

"By doing so, we will discover that despite our apparent differences, the challenges that we all face are similar.

“As the prosperity and development of one country can be shared within our greater ummah, it is appropriate that the theme of this conference emphasises on development and national sovereignty.”

He said charity and zakat were key principles in the religion, and adhering to these practices would help Muslims to overcome challenges facing the ummah.

He said the charity among Muslims in the past was well known as exemplified by the royal women of the Qajar and Ottomon courts, who were known for establishing public kitchens and hospitals for the poor.

Sultan Abdullah also urged each Muslim to acquire a stronger understanding of the religion as that was the foundation of their identity.

“When we accomplish this, we will create a new generation of Muslims who can perform their role with wisdom, courage, fairness, and justice."

When talking about domestic issues within different Muslim nations, the king said the respective governments needed to uphold integrity at all times in order to protect the rights of their people.

"There is a growing consensus among experts and scholars that development, when coupled with good governance, would reduce the many problems of the Muslim world."

When speaking about this, he cited the prosperity that was enjoyed during the peak of the Islamic civilisations of the past. He said the Ottoman Empire, for one, upheld the law based on Islamic principles and its capital in Istanbul became a centre for trade and commerce with an emphasis on science and technology while also harnessing culture and art.

He said under the leadership of Suleiman the Magnificent, Istanbul became not just a centre of Islamic culture, but of trade, commerce, and exchange, literally bridging East and West.

“Known as “the lawgiver”, he codified Quranic law and established the rights of his citizens according to Islamic principles, creating a distinct, pious and orderly society. We are blessed to have such a rich past that can guide us in the present.

“Our rich past forms an important part of the wider history of the world and can help guide us today. Let us not forget, all across history, our Islamic philosophers have been pioneers in expanding the boundaries of human knowledge."

Sultan Abdullah also paid tribute to the younger generation of dynamic Muslim youths who continued to contribute to the world.

“With the combination of positive values, access to information and communication technology, the ability to embrace differences and other faiths, this new generation of Muslims has great potential to revive Islamic civilisation and usher in a new golden age of Islam,” he said.

The king said that despite people living in a divisive world, there was still hope if the Muslim nations upheld the teachings of the religion.

"Hatred and intolerance have reached alarming levels. Nonetheless, I strongly feel that this need not be so, and that we can look to ourselves to seek a peaceful path, for Islam is a religion that encourages rationality, scientific thinking and strong ethics."

“While the impact of globalisation has both been positive and negative, I like to suggest that we can bring this globalised world to our side. After all, as Muslims we are already familiar with being global.”

Sultan Abdullah, in thanking state leaders and delegates, said their presence at the summit reflected their personal belief and conviction towards the strengthening the ummah.

“I would like to especially acknowledge the contribution of my dear prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for his stewardship (as chairman) in organising this summit.

“The presence of notable leaders of the Islamic world here today is testimony to your stature as a global and Muslim statesman.

"There are many challenges facing us in this highly complex world we live in today. To me, the need for unity of our ummah as well as to bring development to our communities are the two most important ways to meet those challenges," he said.

Published in: The New Straits Times, 19 December 2019

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Monday, 16 December 2019 15:16

KL Summit to address Muslim issues

KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit) 2019 can potentially take cooperation between Muslim nations to new heights, ultimately reviving the spirit of the Muslim world.

In his message to the participants on the event website, klsummit.my, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad highlights the challenges faced by Muslim nations.

Among them are abuse of power, corruption and being accused of becoming a breeding ground for terrorism.

Due to those reasons and others, Dr Mahathir said the most important task was to turn the decisions taken at the summit into reality.

“We proclaim that all Muslims are brothers and yet, our nations are involved in endless civil wars, sectarian wars, wars with our Muslim neighbours and inviting non-Muslim nations to assist us in our wars with fellow Muslims.

“For far too long we have been associated with bad governance, endemic corruption and a breeding place for terrorism,” wrote the prime minister, who is also the chairman of the summit.

The summit is scheduled to take place from Wednesday to Saturday.

Dr Mahathir also addressed the issue of terrorism.

“We can keep on shouting that such labels, especially being breeders of terrorism, as callous anti-Islam propaganda.

“We know that it is really true but our weakness and disunity have given credence to this propaganda.

“Such is the state of affairs among our nations that Muslims end up on the shores of nations governed by those from other faiths and our brethren’s fate rests solely on their mercy.

“It is against these backdrops that the KL Summit was hatched and it is earnest in wanting to contribute in the improvement of the state of affairs among Muslims and the Muslim nations.

“We have always reflected on how great, enriching and powerful the Islamic civilisation was. It is a chapter in history and we yearn for its return. It will remain a yearning unless we do something about it.

“The KL Summit, which gathers Muslim leaders, intellectuals and scholars, was conceived with the noble objectives of identifying the problems afflicting the Muslim world and finding solutions to them.

“But, no matter how many brilliant ideas the KL Summit hatches, without the support of leaders and governments of the Muslim nations, these ideas will remain ideas.

“It is my fervent hope that participants at this KL Summit will take this challenge of turning all our declarations and decisions into realities.”

Among the most recognisable Islamic leaders who are expected to attend the summit are Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al Thani, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Early indications are positive with more than 50 countries confirming their presence.

There will be 400 participants, half of them from abroad.

The event will give a chance not only to Muslim leaders but also intellectuals and scholars to discuss and exchange ideas. The aim is to produce new, creative and viable solutions to the problems facing Muslims.

The summit will focus on seven areas, or “pillars”, including development and sovereignty, integrity and good governance, culture and identity, justice and freedom, peace, security and defence, trade and investment and lastly, technology and Internet governance.

Published in: The New Straits Times, Monday 16 December 2019

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