Friday, February 6, 2015

THE 7th ANNUAL LECTURE SERIES ON CONTEMPORARY ISLAM IN MALAYSIA

 The overall ambiance of C06 throughout the programme.

30 undergraduate students of "Religion in Asia" study programme from Agder University of Norway, were at ISDEV to participate in the 7th Annual Lecture Series on Contemporary Islam in Malaysia on 5 February, 2015. They were led by Professor Dr. Levi Geir Eidhamar. It was an annual occasion resulting from the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Universiti Sains Malaysia and Agder University of Norway sometime in 2007. ISDEV Deputy Director, Dr. Zakaria Bahari, served as Chairman of the program which was held at Social Sciences Conference Room, C06.

Shereeza, stressing a point on the historical background on the formulation of the Federal Constitution.

As usual there are two speakers slotted from the lecture series. The first speaker, Shereeza Mohamed Saniff, a RISDEV (ISDEV PhD by Research) student talked on "Sons of the Soil Policy in Malaysia" while the second speaker, Ustaz Taha Mohd Omar, also a RISDEV student, lectured on "Contemporary Issues in Malaysian Islam".
Dedicated and passionate about Islam, Ustaz Taha Omar giving his points of view
on current issues pertaining to Islam in Malaysia.

The second part was a truly lively and vibrant Question & Answer session. A number of the undergraduate Norwegian students were keen to get more details on the points shared by both speakers. Coming from a well-developed country with a conventional development paradigm, where Muslims are a minority, these students really took the opportunity to clear the air about their views on Islam and the Muslims. However the two speakers were able to tactfully tackle and answer the myriads of questions fielded by these students.
Never missing any of the trips, Prof. Levi has been an instrumental figure in the success of the lecture series
which is now in its seventh year.

Even Prof. Levi did not miss a beat as he too joined in expressing his agreement or disagreement to some of the points raised by the speakers. The differing perspectives and point of views however did not at all mar the cool, calm and friendly atmosphere that was upheld throughout the programme. 
Makhtina, one of the students, raised her questions on the penalties imposed on Muslims,
should a criminal offence be committed by them in Malaysia.

All in all it was truly an enriching experience for both parties. Akin to a crusade albeit on the academic route both speakers were thankful to Allah SWT for the help rendered in ensuring that they remained calm and were able to respond to the questions and queries asked by the participants. They were also grateful to ISDEV for the trust bestowed on them to disseminate information about Islam to the participants. Prof. Levi explicitly expressed his satisfaction to the two talks delivered that day and stated his commitment to bring his next year's batch of students to ISDEV, USM for the 8th Lecture Series on Contemporary Islam in Malaysia. To this, Dr. Zakaria echoed the same sentiment with an addition of in sha Allah!
The students and Prof.  Levi not missing a chance to take a group photo with ISDEV members.

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