Islam and West can co-exist, says HM

National 2 minutes, 26 seconds

LONDON

HIS Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam said Islam and the West are not opposed to each other, but can co-exist.

Despite understanding and positive development, there were still people who subscribe to the definition of the world between Islam and the West, that they are permanently locked in a position against each other, His Majesty said.

Delivering his titah at the World Islamic Economic Forum in London yesterday, the monarch said Islam and the West face similar concerns, and no country can solve them alone.

“In fact, what binds us together is much more significant than that which divides us. Around the world, there is growing disparity between the rich and the poor, with increasing unemployment leading to social and political unrest.

“Global growth is still confronted with risks and our people continue to face challenges in various aspects of their live both socio-political and economic,” His Majesty added.

Speaking in front of 17 leaders at the forum, the monarch said the challenges were profound and demand collective efforts to enable communities to live and work together to ensure global peace and security.

His Majesty suggested the need for constructive relations and solidarity between these two great cultures, Islamic and Western.

With about 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, the millions living in the West are contributing to the development of the communities that they are in, said His Majesty.

Nonetheless, despite the revolution of information and the march towards globalisation, there still exists significant historic, political and cultural divides among civilisation especially between Islam and the West, the monarch added.

“We need to understand each others’ world views in order to remove fear and suspicions,” His Majesty suggested.

The monarch said dialogue between Islam and the West which began a decade ago, should be enhanced to promote better understanding and confidence among communities.

“Islam celebrates diversity. Getting to know each other better is the basic premise in seeking a common ground and in beginning to create ways and means of addressing our common problems,” the sovereign said.

His Majesty further spoke of the need to deepen collaboration between Muslims and the West to develop and complement each other's financial resources.

The monarch cited recurring food insecurities as one of the obstacles to development.

“Islamic finance can use these opportunities to address pressing problems like investing in agricultural research and development to enhance efficiency and expand production capacities.

“Islamic finance should also play a role in promoting the role of SMEs by bringing together ethically responsible investments and businessmen and women who aspire to make a difference in their communities,” His Majesty said.

“These challenges call for banks and all financial institutions to embrace the values of moral responsibilities and protect social justice, for example as required by the practice of zakat (payment of tithe) in Islam. In short, it is important for both banking systems to undertake charitable deed to give back to society.”

The Brunei Times