Speech by His Excellency Abdullah Jihad, Vice President of the Republic of Maldives, at the International Conference of Islamic Awakening: Towards Diverse but United Societies
19 November 2016, Ref: PS/NRAJ/2016/14

       بســم اللّـه الرّحمـن الرّحيــم


                            اَلحَمْـدُ لِلّـهِ رَبّ العَـالَمِـين، وَالصّـلاة وَالسّلام علـى سيّدنا محـمَّدٍ، خاتم الأنبياء والمرسلين، وَعلـى آلـه وَصَحْبِـهِ أجمـعـين


Chancellor of Islamic University of Maldives, Dr. Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, Deputy Rector of University of Sultan Sharif Ali – Brunei Darussalam, Prof. Dr. Mohammed Hussain Ahmad, Vice Rector of Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Prof. Mohamed Al Alam Zahrani, Prof. Menk and all Distinguished participants.

السّلام عليكم ورحمـة اللّـه وبركاته                              

I am delighted to be here today as the chief guest at this Conference, “The conference of Islamic Awakening: Towards Diverse but Unified Societies.” As the chair mansion this is a controversial issue. But I think this is a very important issue. It is indeed an honor to host the Conference in the Maldives this year. Let me welcome the distinguished delegates, local and international, prepared to engage in scholarly dialogue in an Islamic context around emerging and old-age issues from a magnitude of fields, including humanities and science among others.

At the outset, I would like to applaud your initiative in hosting an important conference of this nature. Considering that we live in a vastly globalized world, “Islamic awaking towards diverse but unified society” is a truly a very germane topic for the deliberations. So I would like to thank the Chancellor Dr. Shaheem and the able team for hosting this conference at this university.

Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The words diversity and unity in isolation may be contradictory. What we ought to strive however, is to embrace diversity in unity. We need to inculcate tolerance. Towards diverging world views premised on evolving historical circumstances. The world would be a more harmonious place if we learn to humbly empathize with one another and understand the existence of others; we are all in the end humans regardless of creed, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of race, regardless of gender, regardless of nationality. Differences must be appeased while bearing in mind the dignity of human life and equality of all humans.

So how does Islam inform this equation of diversity in unity? I’m not a Islamic scholar, but I think I will try my best. Let us ponder on how Islam enables us to maintain diverse but unified societies. The Muslim Ummah is bounded by our common adherence to the spiritual value of Islam revealed in the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Mohammed (SWT). It is our unwavering obedience to Allah and his Prophet that holds us together.

Since its emergence, the Islamic Civilization has gained presence in all continents to become a global community. Today, the most pressing issue that we the Muslims face as a whole is the means to pacify sectarian disputes between the various schools that have branched from Islam. Failure to appropriately unify the sects has diminished the strategic foothold Muslims had in global affairs and thrown Muslim nations into civil unrest. The Muslim Ummah needs to put aside our differences and remember our common focus or common roots. We need to fully recognize that the sectarian clashes has left a vacuum that has been increasingly been exploited by actors seeking to expand their power and influence in the global scene. The indoctrination of hegemonic ideals and values has further severed the ties in the Muslim Ummah and given way for radical ideologies and militant extremism committed by rogue organizations disguised as Muslim movements.

Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The word terrorism has as of late been associated with Islam. This is a rather unfortunate development that needs urgent addressing. The value-laden terrorism, is increasingly being used to describe violence perpetrated by Muslims against non-Muslims. The West while condemning terrorist activities of militant organizations such as the self-professed Islamic State (ISIS), an undertaking that Muslims concur with and support, need to recognize gruesome violence such as that inflicted on Muslims by religions. Unless, we cede allotting the act of terrorism to an actions of a particular group of people, terrorism in its entirety will not be abolished.

Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In our effort to consolidate good governance, advance in science and technologies eradicate tourism, we need to deploy all the dialogic arsenal in our disposal to reconcile first and foremost the internal conflicts within among our brothers and sisters as to fortify our brotherly ties and foster spirit of solidarity.

Military warfare should only be used as a tactic only in defense, and certainly not in offence, when negotiations are exhausted to no avail. Let us remember that Islam is inherently a pacifistic religion that condemns all forms of divisiveness and violence to settle disputes. Islam recognizes and respects other creeds and encourages tolerance on all levels; whether it is individual, community, national or international.

Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Islamic Ummah as a whole has had to bear the brunt of backlash raged against pervasive radical ideologies and militant extremism, grounded in misinterpretations of the traditional teachings of Islam in the Quran and Sunnah. In our quest to tackle all forms of discrimination against Muslims, it is important to negate the negative but faulty impression of Islam as a perpetrator organized violence. Muslims and non-Muslims need to come to terms with this fact.

Discrimination against races, gender and religion is symptomatic of a lack of tolerance. Exclusion of disadvantaged segments of society has long-lasting setbacks on the prosperity and progress of peoples as a nation. The consequential economic and social ills have ripple effects across the globe. Espousing discrimination and campaigns to quell diversity therefore has a far-reaching effect beyond national borders. Pluralism or diversity in unity must in turn be construed in a positive light. Collective tolerance of diversity serves to create far more advanced civilizations; for we all have an opportunity cost with respect of our differences. Let us allow our most celebrated values to complement each other to create rich, vibrant and harmonious communities.

So I would like to sight sermon from Prophet Mohammed (S.W.T). This sermon was giving light on diversity on unity. I caught this. “All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor does a non-Arab have any superiority over an Arab; a white has no superiority over a black, nor does a black have any superiority over a white; except by piety and good action. Preference is only through righteousness. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.” Uncourt. This clearly shows that the Prophet Mohammed (S.W.T) has prorogated unity in diversity. So I would not like to take much of your time.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Muslims need to reinvigorate our practice of Islam with respect to tolerance of others and respect for diversity. We as a Muslim Ummah, need to make our civilization more pluralistic; an exemplary civilization that the world may have lessons learn from.

I would like to conclude this statement. But before I conclude I would like to thank brother Dr.Shaheem the chancellor of Islamic University for organizing this conference. I think this is also first of this kind as he mentioned this is going a continuity in future. But I would like to thank again for his leadership and organizing this conference and also the able team making this a very successful event. And I also like to thank all distinguished participants from abroad who has come here all the way from your country to be part of this. So I would like to give my deepest appreciation to all of you. And we see people with different colors, with different gowns, different dresses with different ages, and this is called as our chair mentioned what is Diversity in unity. But if you take the whole Ummah, if you take the whole world we can see how we can emulate the same thing to others. We can have brothers whether there Muslims or non-Muslims. It does not matter weather non-Muslims. So I think as what I have to learn is tolerance. Tolerance is the most important thing for diversity. So in Quran it is reviewed. Allah is with people who has patience. So tolerance is the most important and most thing. I’m sure the end of this conference will learn lot about how we can live in diversity, both in Maldives and in other countries.

And once again thank you. And also I would like to thank for the good words expressed by Dr. Shaheem about me. That was my duty to help this university during my tenure in Ministry of Finance and I still would like to give this Islamic University as much I can disposed. And I would also like to thank Excellency the President for asking me to be here this morning on his behalf. That shows that he is really trying to propagate Islam and also trying to create this kind of academic academy in Maldives. And as chair mentioned, and also I think last time I came here I also mentioned we should increase the research. University is very important to have research and this topic is a good topic for research. I’m sure that faculty the Dr. Dheeba will lead this research on this topic and also trying to findings on other institutions. So I would like to thank you all for listening and also keep this good work going on. And I wish Barakaath in all your efforts to promote Islam and also to develop this University.

Thank you very much.

والسّلام عليكم ورحمـة اللّـه وبركاته                 
 

 

 

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