* Right Honourable Chief Minister Selangor Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim
* My fellow Honourable state ministers of Selangor
* Dato’ Hj Adnan Isman, Rector os Selangor International Islamic University College(KUIS)
* Professor Dr Khazani Abdullah, Director of 7thWorld Conference on Muslim Education(WORLD-COME 2009)
* Respected scholars, scholars, speakers,distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
Distinguished Guests from the Muslim Education fraternity of the world.
It is with joy and happiness that I extend Selangor’s warmest greetings to all delegates attending the 7th World Conference On Muslim Education.
I sincerely hope you had a pleasant flight, that checking in to your gracious accommodation was hassle free and that your palates have already been treated to the taste of Selangor’s glorious array of sumptuous cuisine.
I am confident that by the time you bid goodbye to Selangor you would take back home pleasant memories of having attended a fruitful and invigorating conference.
Brothers and sisters, Ladies and Gentlemen, educators are the pillars of society. They are the untiring cultivators of the seed of knowledge who have untiringly tilled the bedrock of civilization to its present state.
It is worthy to be aware that there is a distinct difference between educators of knowledge and faith educators. Whilst the former deals with the material progress of life, the latter is concerned with task of instilling moral, spiritual and ethical values to empower individuals, communities and nations to realise their full human potential in harmony with their fellowmen and other God created beings and the world at large.
The rapid progress of Science has made the world a different place to live especially with the advent of the Internet and other instant communication technologies. As much as we are shaped by our culture and environment, today we are equally influenced by gadgets of every description. It has made its impact on our daily lives as well as impinged on our senses in offering us a global array of choices.
Naturally, all this makes the task of faith educators an excruciating task to keep with the pulse of time and how it impacts our relationship within our own communities as well as communities of other faiths.
The question that Muslim Educators of today must ask themselves is whether the education being imparted and instilled among the faithful are bearing the desired results. What is the ROI for every cent , every drop of sweat, every minute spent in the so called education process of our young generation
Ladies & Gentlemen, I am proud to be a Muslim but I will be the first to confess that I am both awed, amazed and perplexed as well as anxious on the present state of Muslim education against the backdrop of the maze of problems confronting the Muslim psyche right here in Malaysia.
Malaysia is unique in the Islamic league of nations for a very simple reason. Although it is a multi-racial country, Islam is its official religion. Yet the the shine of our uniqueness is dimmed based on the fact that our ratings on the Corruption Index of the World continues to nose dive. Corruption is contemptible in Islam but here in Malaysia it seems to be compatible and even “protected”.
Since the nation’s Independence in 1957, millions and millions of Ringgit, running into the billions have been invested on Muslim Education. Having invested such phenomenal resources it is only logical to ask whether these investments have empowered the desired returns, yields and dividends.
A brief glance at the diversity of social ills plaguing the Muslim psyche would suggest that we have very serious problems. From the menace of Mat Rempits(illegal racings), to drug addiction, teenage pregnancies, abortions, abandoned babies, incest, divorces, domestic violence and broken homes, we are tops for the wrong reasons.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is praiseworthy to note that the target groups of concern of this Conference include women, youth and children. Given the litany of ills besieging the Malaysian Muslim psyche, it is my sincere hope that remedial recommendations to these problems would be forthcoming from this esteemed gathering of Muslim educators.
It has to be acknowledged that in any society, the rot starts from the top where corruption reigns supreme and like a cancer it has filtered down to the masses and manifested itself in diverse problems plaguing the Muslim mindset.
To make matters worse, there are sinister racially-incited orchestrations that have trampled on the sensitivities of other faiths. The grace and wisdom of Islam is inclusive of all creation and humanity in the Oneness of the Almighty. That there are Muslims who are seeking to equate Islam exclusively with race goes against the basic spirit of Islam. Islam is for all humanity. Again it becomes the duty and conscience of Muslim Educators to address this blurring of the lines of race and religion for political expediency.
Ladies & Gentlemen, it almost looks like it is dark and depressing times for the Muslim community in Malaysia. The truth of the matter is that there is a new thinking sweeping across the nation among both the Muslim and non-Muslim mindset throughout the country. Fed up with the mismanagement, poor governance and arrogant attitude of the authorities of the day, Malaysians exercised their right to give the Opposition party an opportunity for the first time in the history of the nation to rule 5 of the 13 States in Malaysia.
Today Malaysians are open and receptive to a two party system. The results of the last General Elections was testimony of the fact that both Muslims and non-Muslims are desirous of ridding Malaysia of its corrupt leaders and usher in a new dawn of governance that is fair and just to all.
Even the Malaysian Government at the Federal level is aware that if they do not mend their corrupt ways and empower good governance, their future might be consigned to the annals of the nation’s archives.
Ladies & Gentlemen, in intense political times, educators must be more vigilant and alert of serving the aspirations of the citizenry rather than doing the bidding of their political master. Truth is integral in Islam. It is pointless to paint a rosy picture when it is otherwise .Worst still is to be in a state of denial to the malaise surrounding us because it will prevent us from seeking and attaining the desired answers to overcome the problems plaguing the Malaysian Muslim society.
Just as a lotus ascends from the mud to sprout and shoot its resplendent petals, Malaysian Muslims with their non-Muslims will rise from the present day muck of corruption and its attendant maze of social ills. Educators for all ends and purposes must be a dynamic part of this process.
Ladies n Gentlemen, the challenge for Muslim education in today’s globalized world is how to live the message of Islam as the sure means for Muslim individuals to realise their full potential of life in the diversity of unity in the Oneness of the Almighty.
The glory of Islam is in the deed. To speak about Islam is not as convincing as to live as a true Muslim who appreciates and understands that Islam for all times is inclusive of all humanity. Educators must investigate what is it in the present Muslim Education system that prevents or inhibits what is being taught from being a dynamic way of life. Why do students fail to grasp the vital fact that ISLAM is a blessing to ALL HUMANS, CREATURES HEAVEN AND EARTH ( ANBIYA: 107)
Al Baqarah 44: WHY do teachers of Islam fail to practice what they preach?
Educators should be courageous to review, revamp or even overhaul our Muslim education system if that is what is needed to empower Muslims to walk the talk of Islam. Woe betide us all if Muslim Education is a reduced to a mere academic subject which can be taught and learned but cannot be put into practice!
As the Chairperson for the Standing Committee for EDUCATION, HIGHER EDUCATION AND HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE SELANGOR STATE GOVERNMENT I ‘m very grateful to have all of you here, the chosen ones who will strive to continue the mission of Rasulillah saw to educate/tarbiyyah his ummah. I’m also thankful to the Chief MINISTER and my colleagues in the Selangor government who had agreed to sponsor this conference so that all of you can gather for a noble cause. And, who have also kindly made their presence with us today. I am especially passionate about the positive outcome and the follow-up and follow through programmes that will ensue from this collaboration of ours.
Distinguished Guests of the World Muslim Education Conference, I sincerely thank you for being a polite and attentive audience. It is my sincere hope that you have a fruitful and productive 7th World Conference on Muslim Education.