Dinner-Talk on ISIS
In the evening of March 24, 2016 the Kuala Lumpur International Symposium on Kalam (KLIKS 2016) bade farewell with a special dinner featuring Prof. Dr. Aref Ali Nayed attended by a special delegation of scholars and supporters. Prof. Dr. Aref Ali Nayed had been in various speaking engagements in conjunction with the kalam symposium. That night however, he put on his Ambassador’s hat in addressing the looming threat of extremism towards contemporary global societies.
The guests were treated to dinner at The Everly Hotel, Putrajaya, where Dr. Amran Muhammad the Managing Director of ISSI and Regional Director of KRM, welcomed them with a brief introduction about the Islamic and Strategic Studies Institute (ISSI) which was incorporated in 2010. Thus far, ISSI has been involved in organizing and attending various programmes in relation to Islamic and strategic studies in Malaysia and abroad and has published three relevant books namely “Contemporary Ijtihad” by Dr. Yusri Mohamad, “Ibn Sīna on Demonstration” by Dr. Amran Muhammad and “Exploring Religious Pluralism” by Dr. Haslina Ibrahim.
In a talk entitled, “Post Arab Spring Politics and Global Security,” Prof. Aref shared his experiences as an ambassador, for which he often conveyed official condolences to many governments whose country and people were affected by the current threats of violence. This threat has caused confusion to Muslim societies, as the perpetrators speak the language of many Muslims (Arabic) and display certain shared characteristics, but in fact they have stolen their identities. Such confusions contribute to the rising number of atheists in the Arab world, which Prof. Aref Nayed considered inconceivable fifty years ago.
He urged the Muslims to be frank with themselves and account for their thoughts (and maybe actions) because this to him, is a crisis of meaning. People have lost their personal narratives, the sense of who they are, where they are going and what is worthy in life or otherwise. This loss provides the space for peddlers of meaning to offer a “quick fix” to the youths. In the Arab Spring, he likened the fascism to the early days of Mussolini and even Hitler. Arab Nationalism was influenced by fascism much like Gaddafi, the Libyan former dictator was. The extremists play with words, such as the term “daulah Islamiyyah” or “wahdah Islamiyyah,” mutilating Muslim discourse on these topics. The confusion is such that battles ensued amongst Muslims, when in fact, they are fighting the mutilated version of themselves.
Prof. Aref Nayed, reminded the audience that people who loss the structure of meaning are vulnerable to victimization. Our tradition offers us numerous snippets of the Prophet’s merciful and life-giving actions that hardly gets the attention they deserve nowadays. Remaining rooted to our traditions can steer us through the path of peace. We are indeed fortunate to have partake in his wise counsel, through the efforts of ISSI and KRM.
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