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MEH | "We Need Radical Structural Changes in Muslim Societies" - Prof Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar

 
"In sum, OCIS (Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies) brought about encouragement within me to study and research. Looking forward, I do hope OCIS can continue to be a platform for independent Muslim thoughts and ideas to create our own narrative of Islam & Muslims in South East Asia. I hope OCIS can be the bridge that links the diverse Muslim societies, intellectuals and masses together in multidisciplinary topics and issues," - Prof Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar

I was accepted to be a visiting fellow at OCIS in 2015 & 2016. Becoming a student of some sort at the age of 70+ in a recognized centre of Oxford University was an exciting and memorable experience.

The forced sabbatical was all worth it. The environment in Oxford & facilities provided were conducive to learning and knowledge acquisition.

On 30 June 2021, I was invited to be one of the panelists in a webinar discourse moderated by Dr Farhan Nizami, the Director of OCIS. together with Dato Seri Nazir Razak & Hon Minister Dato Khairy Jamalludin to mark the 30th Anniversary of OCIS Fellowship Programme.

Each one of us was asked to relate & share our individual reflections on the contributions of OCIS to international scholarships and knowledge.

The members of the panel generally held the same view that OCIS had indeed made positive & tremendous contribution in the field of Islamic learning, knowledge & understanding.

We agreed during this period, that it was successfully able to establish very good networking within and outside the Muslim World. In the deliberations we also spoke about our individual experiences of being a fellow & what we had gained through the programme at OCIS.

We definitely benefited from the various exposure in the fields of Islamic Knowledge. We shared the same view that the various discourses, seminars and talks by known and prominent personalities had made our academic sojournment most valuable & rewarding.

I enjoyed the goodwill, friendships & camaraderie with OCIS' fellows & other visiting fellows from many parts of the world. What I liked most was their openness in expressing views and impressions in varying current issues of the world as they impact on Islam & Muslim societies. They were not selfish in the sharing of their ideas, thoughts and knowledge.

Dr Farhan was always available & Dr Basil always welcomed me to engage in a discussion on a variety of topics whenever I approached him, Dr Adil loved to debate on Islamic economy or his favorite topic of how Malaysia would like to see itself coming out of the middle income trap, Dr Mohammad Thalib was kind & gracious in engaging with me on a variety of current topical issues. This had always been something delightful for me. Not to forget, Dr Afifi was kind in his willingness to explain & answer my questions to him in his area of expertise in Islamic classical history up to the current situation.

Personally OCIS made me undertake research and study in depth on Buddhism in Myanmar and the reasons for their hatred and intolerance of Islam & Muslims & the political identity of the Rohingya. I then read materials on Islamic philosophy which is forever a favorite subject of mine. This ultimately brought me to undertake a research on ibn Khaldun and finally I researched on Islamic Diplomacy in international relations.

In sum, OCIS brought about encouragement within me to study and research. Looking forward, I do hope OCIS can continue to be a platform for independent Muslim thoughts and ideas to create our own narrative of Islam & Muslims in South East Asia. I hope OCIS can be the bridge that links the diverse Muslim societies, intellectuals and masses together in multidisciplinary topics and issues.

I’d like to thank OCIS for providing the space and freedom . Finally, TS Wahid Omar a current visiting fellow asked the question, if we’re given the opportunity again to be a visiting fellow what would be the subject of our choice. Nazir said he would like to look at cosmopolitan Islam in the context of building a Malaysian nationhood, Khairy said he wishes to look into how Islam has contributed to Science & Technology. In my case I’m interested to see how we can create a positive image and trajectory of Muslims in this new world order. To enable us achieve what we had discussed at length I certainly think we need radical structural changes in Muslim societies & governance of Muslim States. May Allah help & guide us.🇲🇾

- Prof Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar



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