KUALA LUMPUR: The International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) has launched the Malay World-Ottoman Centre, in collaboration with the Fatih Sultan Mahmet Vakif University (FSMVU) in Istanbul, Turkey to enhance knowledge on the Malay archipelago and the Ottoman empire.
IIUM President Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim said once operational, the centre – located at the university’s campus in Damansara, here as well as at FSMVU – would act as a hub where indepth research on Malay and Ottoman studies would be carried out.
“The two universities will jointly work towards excelling research in all fields of Islamic humanity, in particular economy, Islamic banking and finance, language, universality of the Islamic world and Islamic arts and culture.
“This centre will also be involved in carrying out research relating to the halal industry and technologies, as well as how Turkey had positioned itself as a developed nation in Europe’s economic landscape, so that Malaysia can benefit from it (the knowledge),” he said in a statement.
The Malay World-Ottoman Centre was launched at FSMVU in Istanbul yesterday.
Rais said the establishment of the centre would help create a pool of scholars with a background of extensive research into the Islamic world, also taking into account the Muslim phenomenon in the Middle East, China, India and other regions.
He said the centre also served to encourage the extensive development of scholarly talent in various fields of study related to the Malay world and the Ottoman.
He added that Turkey was chosen because it was a progressive Islamic nation and had its own history and glorious civilisation, besides its historical ties with Malaysia.
In view of Turkey’s position as an important gateway to Europe, Rais said the Malay archipelago region, especially Malaysia, should take the opportunity to forge cooperation with the nation.
“And, as Muslims now are merely users of the western (technology) explosion, the Malay World-Ottoman Centre has a role to play to amend this situation.
“The time has come for the image of the Malay world in Southeast Asia to encompass universal values and virtues. If the Malay world’s language and culture are supported by the Turkey academia and the Islamic world, it stands a better chance of being recognised in Europe,” he said.
At yesterday’s event, Rais was conferred an honorary doctorate in Islamic civilisation and culture by FSMVU President Ismail Gercek, in recognition of his efforts to conserve culture, history and civilisation. In fact, the setting up of the Malay World-Ottoman Centre was also his brainchild.