| Aziz Idris |
PROFESSOR Tan Sri Dr Mohd Kamal Hassan, the keynote speaker at the 4th Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies’ Interna-tional Conference (SICON), in an interview yesterday said that the general feeling of scholars is that it’s time for Southeast Asia, the so-called periphery of the Muslim world, to take the lead in the reconstruction of the Muslim civilisation in the modern world.
He added that in the region, it is Brunei that naturally stands out as the nation to take up this mantle.
“Allah the Almighty has spared Brunei all the storms of moral and economic crisis that have plagued other Muslim nations for a reason,” said Professor Tan Sri Kamal.
He went on to stress that despite its relatively small size, the com-mitment that Brunei has shown to its national Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) philosophy, the preservation of peace and harmony with its neighbours and good relationships with both the East and the West, means that the country is uniquely positioned to assume the leadership role in this endeavour, not just re-gionally but also internationally.
Brunei’s freedom from the radi-calism, extremism and militancy witnessed in other parts of the Mus-lim world make it a model of the ‘Wasatiyyah’ or moderation, which the professor addressed during his keynote lecture.
Professor Tan Sri Kamal also emphasised the need for balance, goodness and justice as the three in-separable elements for a moderate society.
“Islam was born in the city of Mak-kah and thrived in Madinah, and spread from cities like Alexandria, Cordoba, Granada, Aceh, Delhi and Malacca,” he noted.
Brunei must not be too humble to take up a position of greatness alongside these countries, said the professor. “Brunei is destined for great things,” he said.
The 4th SICON, which is ongoing, is proving instrumental in bringing together eminent scholars of the Islamic world, including renowned intellectuals Professor Salim TS Al-Hassani, President of the Founda-tion for Science, Technology and Civilisation, United Kingdom, and Professor Dr Mesut Idriz, Visiting Professor at SOASCIS, Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) and Professor of Comparative History of Civilisations, Law and Ethics, and Political Science, Internatio-nal University of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Professor Tan Sri Dr Mohd Kamal Hassan is author of several works, including the ‘Islamic Identity Crisis in the Muslim Community in Con-temporary Malaysia’ and ‘Islamic Studies in Contemporary Southeast Asia: General Observations’.
He is also the Eminent Visiting Professor at SOASCIS and Distin-guished Professor at the Internatio-nal Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation (ISTAC), International Islamic University Malaysia.