Bandar Seri Begawan - The regional grouping of religious ministers from Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore - MABIMS - has expressed deep sorrow for the conflict in Gaza that has already resulted in many casualties, most of whom are civilians including children and women, as well as the destruction of property and the community.
The MABIMS was united in its voice at the 15th Informal Annual Meeting of the Religious Affairs Ministers of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, held in the Republic of Singapore.
Minister of Religious Affairs Pengiran Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohammad bin Pengiran Haji Abdul Rahman attended the meeting.
The organisation also urged parties responsible for this conflict to stop all acts of violence that have brought chaos to the lives of the people there. "We call for the concerned parties to take immediate action in order to end this conflict and restore peace to the region," the ministers said.
"The pain felt by the citizens of Gaza and the global community who are undergoing a humanitarian crisis is also felt by the Muslim community in this region. We pray that Allah SWT will grant His blessings to all who are affected in this crisis. May they be given strength and resilience in the face of this big challenge and may they be guided towards peace," they added.
On another issue, the grouping has agreed to continue to seek its vision for the progress of the 'Ummah' or Muslim community in the region.
The programmes carried out in the framework of cooperation agreed previously were also focused upon in the meeting, both in strategic and specific fields.
The achievements of cooperation incorporated, amongst others, the success of the meeting in uniting the scholars and ulamas (clerics) in discussions ofchallenging current issues, with the agreement to provide a platform for scholarly discussion that combines the expertise of various disciplines of knowledge on a fixed and regular basis between MABIMS member countries, and strive to develop an ethical framework that is universal and conforms to Shara' (Islamic law) principles as a guide.
Also, the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) Seminar has succeeded in improving awareness of the role of religion in the development of the Ummah, in particular the eradication of poverty, with agreement reached to strengthening cooperation in areas of poverty eradication, such as involvement in research, best practices and model development.
MABIMS has also agreed to enhance the implementation of strategic and specific fields with the drafting of several reforms and upgrades, with a Technical Committee to be formed for each field of cooperation. These committees are: Technical Committee on Youth Development as the Generation's Successor, Technical Committee on Specific Areas of MABIMS Halal Development and Technical Committee on Islamic Education.
The regional grouping will also use Virtual Office to present information on results of cooperation undertaken in order to introduce MABIMS globally.
The 16"' MABIMS meeting will be held in Indonesia in 2014.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin