Cambodia’s harmonizing role highlighted at world meeting of Muslims
At an international conference in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Othsman Hassan, Cambodian Minister for Special Mission, hailed the religious harmonization initiated by the government which has brought peace and stability among different believers in the Kingdom.
Hassan made the remarks while addressing 400 leaders from 170 countries attending an international conference organized by the World Council of Muslim Communities (WMCC), which was held May 8-9 in Abu Dhabi.
Under the theme “Islamic Unity: The Concept, Opportunities and Challenges”, the WMCC International Conference explored the history of Islamic unity and its effect on all aspects of life, as well as its role in the establishment of human civilization and the historical circumstances that led to the decline of understanding of Islamic unity and the misconceptions surrounding it.
During his speech, Hassan said that the Cambodian government’s drive to harmonize religions in the Kingdom has proven effective in preventing religious conflict and discrimination, while the Islamic community has received great attention from the government that was trying to improve the lives of people in the region. community, especially in educational and socio-economic terms.
Meanwhile, in Cambodia today, Muslims can not only freely practice their religion, but also enjoy democratic rights to vote and be elected as MPs like any other citizen, he said.
“The Royal Government has enabled representatives of Islamic communities to become leaders in institutions, including the Senate, National Assembly and Ministries, and to hold leadership positions such as Secretaries and Under Secretaries of State , high-ranking diplomats, national and sub-national authorities, as well as becoming officers in the armed forces,” he said.
Hassan added that the government has shown understanding and respect for religious freedom by allowing members of Islamic communities to wear their traditional attire, especially the Taqiyah and Hijab, in their photographs for all kinds of legal documents and in educational institutions at all levels.
“The royal government has introduced a quota which allows for the recruitment of 1,500 full-time teachers and 180 contract teachers to work for the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports,” Hassan said.
He added that at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country, the government has done a great job of helping Islamic communities during the difficult time, including allocating land for the burial of its members. instead of cremation in accordance with religious practices. and financial support for the household.
“As the country is reopening again, the government has also authorized the reopening of mosques and Islamic religious schools,” Hassan added.
“All these achievements have been born out of the efforts of the Royal Government and the solidarity of the Islamic community and the people at large, which is crucial and creates many opportunities to achieve full and comprehensive accesses to promote religious conformity, which Islam has taught us in all ages,” he said.
During his visit to Abu Dhabi, the Minister of State also met with Secretary General Hissein Brahim Taha of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the second largest international organization and the second largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations.
During their meeting, Taha hailed the Cambodian government’s efforts to harmonize races and religion and congratulated it on its success in fighting Covid-19 and reviving the economy.
The OIC Secretary General also reiterated his commitment and support for promoting fruitful cooperation between the two parties.
According to the 2019 census carried out by the National Institute of Statistics of the Ministry of Planning, about 2% of the Kingdom’s 16 million inhabitants are Muslim, which makes Islam the most followed religion in the country after the Buddhism (97%), which is the state religion. .
While some Southeast Asian countries struggle to deal with anti-Muslim sentiments, Cambodia’s positive approach to integration has worked so well that in 2018 the OIC Secretary General , Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, described it as a “beacon for Muslim coexistence”.