Minister addresses cultural rights

National 2 minutes, 4 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BRUNEI sees cultural rights, first and foremost, as the right to live as Muslims and perform all duties and obligations under Islam, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports said.

Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Seri Setia Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah said Brunei has always placed a high priority on Islamic teachings in all aspects of life, including the promotion and protection of Islam.

He said there is a need to strike a balance between preserving the country’s Islamic identity and observing human rights.

The minister was addressing the Eighth Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers, which took place on January 21-23 in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.

YB Pehin Dato Hj Hazair said culture is the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterise a society.

“It includes not only arts and letters, but also modes of life, the fundamental rights of the human being, value systems, traditions and beliefs,” he added.

He said Brunei’s national ideology of Malay Islamic Monarchy has been strongly embedded in its society and political system for centuries.

“It has since been a driving force in our socio-economic and political development,” the minister said.

He further said that cultural activities have the potential to spur economic activities and development, through tourism.

“Our respective countries should therefore leverage these unique national treasures of great cultural and economic values for development purposes and in unifying the Islamic ummah (community).”

Themed “Towards Cultural Rights Promotion in the Islamic World to Foster Dialogue and Peace”, the meeting was chaired by Dr Abdulaziz Mohieddin Khoja, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture and Information.

During the roundtable discussions among the ministers, YB Pehin Dato Hj Hazair commended the meeting’s theme as it links the promotion of cultural rights in the Islamic world to the fostering of dialogue and peace globally.

The theme also portrays the dynamism and universality of Islam.

He added that the conference was timely as the Islamic world faces numerous challenges, including islamophobia and erroneous image and interpretation.

More than 40 member countries of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation from across the globe, including Brunei participated in the meeting and Brunei was appointed co-chair for the Asian region for the 2014-2015 session.

The opening ceremony of the eighth Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers was launched by Prince Faisal Salam, governor of Madinah.

The Ninth Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers will be held in Oman in 2016. - Syazwana Souyono

The Brunei Times