KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 ― The World Sufi Centre will be established here for conducting studies and collecting inputs on Sufi practices to be propagated to the world, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
He said that for a start, a philanthropist had agreed to donate US$1 million (RM4.28 million) for the purpose.
“I congratulate the Islamic scholars, religious elders and thinkers who practice Sufism throughout the world to set aside differences in opinions amongst us.
“We will use this initiative (setting up of the centre in Kuala Lumpur to unite our thinking so that Muslims throughout the world can be strong again,” he said when officiating the International Scholars Conference and the World Zikir Perdana Council 2017: Islam is Peace closing ceremony here today.
He said that with the setting up of the centre, it was hoped it could help counter negative perceptions and prejudices about Islam.
The idea of establishing the centre was agreed upon by Islamic scholars, muftis and thinkers from 38 countries who had gathered here in conjunction with the conference held at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid said it was the responsibility of the entire Muslim community to correct the perceptions of people of other religions on Islam which had resulted following terrorists acts by a small group of people.
He said Muslims must inform the world that Islam is a religion that promotes peace and should separate militant groups such as Daesh from the religion.
“Islamophobia must be eradicated from the hearts of people of other faiths and Islam must also be accepted just like any other religion,” he said.
In the Malaysian context, Ahmad Zahid said the people of this country should be grateful for the peace they have enjoyed here and thank those who were responsible for maintaining the situation.
Meanwhile, Tarekat Muktabar Malaysia president Datuk As’ari Ibrahim, when met by reporters after the event, said the centre would study problems faced by Muslims especially in practicing Sufism.
He said for a start the centre expected to be established at the end of this year would be managed by the organisation probably in collaboration with certain universities.
“We may be able to set up a secretariat within this year and we will later move into our building premises but it will take some time to have a building of our own,” he said.
Also present was Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.
Sufism refers to mystical Islamic belief and practice in which Muslims seek to find the truth of divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God. ― Bernama