Kuala Lumpur, 14th June 2014 : Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Kuala Lumpur through one of its post-graduate centres, the Centre for Advanced Studies on Islam, Science and Civilization (CASIS), organized HRH Raja Zarith Sofiah Inaugural Seminar on Global Issues. The seminar focused on a crucial theme, namely ‘Extremism among the Muslims in Contemporary Times: Dimensions and Manifestations’, which is a timely response to the widely unjustified association of extremism, radicalism and intolerance with Islam and Muslims.
The seminar provided opportunities to investigate the historical, ideological, social and political contexts forming the foundation of religious extremism and radicalism, and acted as a platform to identify and analyze the characteristics of some religious sect groups associated with radicalism and extremism. The conference also provided an avenue for analyzing and assessing concepts and practices that may promote moderation in both attitude and practice.
HRH Raja Zarith Sofiah, the Chancellor of UTM, delivered the opening address. In her speech, HRH said, God created diversity so that people from different backgrounds could interact with one another and achieve mutual respect. Malaysians should be proud that all major religions are equally respected by the constitution, where the spirit of ‘muhibbah’ involving goodwill, affection and friendship, is fostered and nurtured in order to maintain peace and respect among the communities here. She added this spirit must be allowed to flourish, so that the younger generation can continue to enjoy what we have enjoyed.
The seminar also comprised four sessions delivered by well-known scholars comprising various topics under the aforementioned theme. Distinguished speakers included President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, former Director General of the Islamic Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM), Datuk Dr. Syed Ali Tawfiq Al-Attas, Director of UTM CASIS, Prof. Dr. Wan Mohd Nor Wan Daud and a scholar from the National University of Singapore (NUS), Assoc. Prof. Dr. Syed Muhd. Khairudin Aljunied.
Also in attendance were Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor the Pro-Chancellor of UTM, Prof. Ir. Datuk Dr. Wahid bin Omar the Vice- Chancellor of UTM, and Dato ‘Ghazali bin Dato’ Mohd Yusoff the CEO of Raja Zarith Sofiah Foundation.