TEXT OF SPEECH BY YABHG TUN AHMAD SARJI BIN ABDUL HAMID, CHAIRMAN, INSTITUTE OF ISLAMIC UNDERSTANDING MALAYSIA AT THE COLLOQUIUM ON “DEMYSTIFYING ISLAMOPHOBIA: TOWARDS A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF ISLAM” AT IKIM GRAND HALL ON 11 November 2019
YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad;
Ladies and gentlemen,
Bersyukur kita ke hadrat Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala oleh kerana dengan limpah keizinan dan inayahNya, maka kita dapat berkumpul di dalam Dewan Besar IKIM pada pagi ini. Saya ingin mengucapkan jutaan terima kasih kepada YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, Perdana Menteri di atas kesudian YAB Tun untuk hadir di majlis Colloquiumbertajuk “Demystifying Islamophobia: Towards Deeper Understanding of Islam” dan seterusnya menyampaikan Ucapan Tema serta merasmikan kolokium ini.
2. This Colloquium is the fourth in a series 8 colloquium organized by the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) on a range of issues affecting Malaysia and the Islamic world. The series include: (i) Good Governance in Islam; (ii) Islam and Disruptive Technology; (iii) Islam and Moral Freedom; (iv) The Failure of Extreme Capitalism: Is Islamic Economics the Answer?; (v) National Sovereignty of the Islamic countries in the Context of International Conventions; (vi) Religious Responses to Climate Change and Environmental Degradation; (vii) Maqasidic Framework for Sustainable Development; and (viii) Halal Economy: Potentials and Challenges.
3. The term “Islamophobia” has been popularised to mean anti-Muslim racism found in Western societies. The primary purpose is to promote prejudice against, or hatred of, Islam and Muslims. In Malaysia, online hate against Islam can be understood as a reaction against ultraconservative displays of Islam that are perceived to be constricting the multicultural public sphere and discriminatory to non-Muslims. It has been reported that there were a series of social media postings insulting the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that led to numerous police reports. Several countries utilize the global discourse on terrorism to implement authoritarian policing against the Muslims.
4. Today, we are privileged to have the participation of two scholars from abroad to share their expertise on Islamophobia, namely Dr. Hisham Hellyer, a Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (United Kingdom), whose views on international affairs and security issues have been sought by CNN, the BBC, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Guardian and others, while the other speaker is Dr. Hatem Bazian, a Co-Founder of Zaytuna College (USA) and Director of Islamophobia Studies Centre (California, USA), whose views on Islamophobia have been sought by Al-Jazeera, TRT World, and Daily Sabah (Turkey).
5. The world, in particular the Islamic countries, recognize YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir’s noble commitment on matters concerning the religion of Islam, in particular how Islam is misunderstood. He is widely regarded as the “Voice of Islam”. This morning we look forward to hearing YAB Tun’s views on the subject of “Islamophobia”.