Launching of the China and the Muslim World Co-operation Research Project (CMWCR)
The project of the ‘China and the Muslim World Co-operation Research’-(CMWCR-2020-21) was launched through a luncheon meeting held on 28th November, Saturday, 12 pm at the Hotel Inter-Continental Serena, Kuala Lumpur, arranged by the Muslim World Research Center (MWRC), Malaysia. Among the invited guests were Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, Former foreign minister of Malaysia, Tan Sri Ahmad Bin Fuzi, Former Foreign Secretary of Malaysia, then Secretary general of World Islamic Economic Foundation (WIEF), Prof. Syed Arabi Idid, Former Rector, IIUM, Prof. Dr. Waleed Fekry Faris, Director, International Institute of Muslim Unity (IIMU), IIUM, Professor Dr. Tahir Al Messawi, Deputy Director, IIMU, IIUM. Professor Dr.Roslan M Noor, Head, Department of Islamic History and Civilization, UM, Associate Prof, Dr. M Moniruzzaman, IIUM, Commodore Ibrar Ishaq, Defense Advisor of Pakistan in KL, Dr. Owraee Karimi, Iranina Cultural Counsellor in KL, Dr. Omar Ming, (China) Ex-Research fellow, ISTAC, IIUM, Dr. Habibullah Galib, Research fellow, IIBF, IIUM, Dr. M Asdadur Rahman. Fellow, MWRC, Mr. K.H. Hanna, NTV Malaysia, Associate Professor Dr. Isharaf Hossain, Head of the CMWCR and the president of the MWRC.
In his short speech after the luncheon, Dr. M. Moniruzzaman predicted that the next cyclical civilizational candidate is the Muslim world, following are the excerptions from his speech:
Over the past two decades seismic shifts in global political and economic landscapes have taken place. Politically speaking, the traditional West that has dominated world politics since the beginning of 16th century till the end of 20th century through colonialism, imperialism and nuclear hegemony has experienced decline in its power. Economically speaking, the same West has lost its position as the center of global production and economic powerhouse. This decadence in political and economic hegemony of the West is balanced by the proportionate rise of the East both politically and economically. On a grand civilizational scale, the East is clearly represented by China with its increasing political influence in the non-West (where the traditional West manifested its political hegemony) through its grand economic and partnership diplomacy. Economically, the global East (or global south) as opposed to global West is now the global production house. So, overall the center of global political and economic power has or has been shifting from the West to the East, which is opening a new chapter in world history. And the shift is accompanying advancement in knowledge, technology, and innovation. Retrospectively reflected, this development in political and economic shift makes us to believe that the civilizational cycle is reverting to its beginning two and a half thousands years back to China (and possibly India), the East. If the civilizational cycle of the past two and a half millennia (shift from ancient Chinese/Indian to Islamic to Western to again modern Chinese/Indian) then it is logical that the next cyclical civilizational candidate is Islamic or the Muslim world. It is this connection that can potentially bring the rising global China and the Muslim world into an intimate partnership.
In his final analysis Dr. Moniruzzaman viewed that Chinese civilization has never been unfamiliar to the Muslim world which is reflected in the old Arab proverb- seek knowledge, even if it takes you to China, recognizing the facts of China’s civilizational prosperity, knowledge and development. It also implies that fostering closer relation with China was encouraged at least for knowledge, technology and scientific purposes. In the contemporary time, China as the leading power in the shift of civilizational cycle is acquiring trust of the Muslim countries for being non-interventionist in their domestic affairs. Clearly, the Muslim world might increasingly find China as an alternative superpower patron to counter the influence of the West. If the present trend continues, the prophecy of Huntington on Islamic-Confucian alliance building in the process of Clash of Civilizations may not sound too fanciful in the future. Furthermore, reflecting on the BRICS philosophy, China and the Muslim world have more reasons to develop an ever engaging civilizational partnership for the future global peace and prosperity. Given the geographical landmass that the Muslim world occupies in the global East/South, a closer China-Muslim world civilizational partnership is rather indispensable to realize the shift in civilizational cycle that is to take place in the future.
Prof. Syed Arabi Idid appreciated the project and emphasized on the formulation of the objective of the project; so that it can be achieved effectively in right manner in the relevant context.
Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar appreciated the core essence of Dr. Moniruzzaman’s presentation and viewed this will be the perfect basis of the further research and activities of the project.
Tan Sri Ahmad Bin Fuzi suggested that this is really a timely initiative and hence MWRC should arrange regular indoor discussions on the topic with the participation of the scholars on this issue in a small scale before holding a big seminar in a large scale.
Professor Tahir Al Messawi opted for an international seminar on this issue after he felt jubilant of this excellent agenda and aspired it to be concentrated by the Muslim thinkers. Later on he sent a comment to circulate among the concerned group which is as follows:
Today I was pleased and benefited from a meeting organized by a research group on prospects for cooperation between the Islamic world and China, and ways to reveal the possibilities of such cooperation in its historical, economic, cultural, geographical and strategic dimensions and how to get it out of space possible to act, bearing in mind the tensions between China and the West in general and the United States in particular, tension and conflict, and accompanied by the intractable historical and cultural decade that extends over many centuries to the end of the imperialist era, his punishment continues until now.
At the end of the meeting, I wondered whether in the Arab world there was an institute, center or forum on the topic of relations between the Arab world and the Middle East region on the one hand and China, especially in light of China’s position, not only as a political force, its possession of nuclear weapons has placed in the ranks of the major powers and permanent membership of the Security Council, but also as the increasing economic and financial burden it has become may qualify it as the world’s first economic power.
The end of the meeting remains unanswered, and may the days come with certainty about it, knowing that China itself has more than a governmental and non-governmental entity competent in this regard, I mean Chinese-Arab relations.
The meeting brought together experts in political science, international relations, economics, politicians, retired diplomats and others interested in the concerns of the Islamic world. The research group hosted a meeting with counterparts from Chinese universities and research centers close to the decision making authorities in Beijing.
Professor Dr. Roslan thanked for the event and appreciated the event very much; he ensured that the Department of Islamic History and Civilization, University Malay will be collaborating in this research project and personally he will be leading the core research group of the CMWCR.
Head of the CMWCR and the president of the MWRC Dr. Isharaf Hossain welcomed the guests and briefly introduced about its aims, objective and ongoing programs of the project; stating that the current financial ascension of China is probably going to agitate the global governmental issues and economy in different ways, since China’s development is multidimensional that includes financial, military, infrastructure, logistic and innovative aspects. Financially amazing China will incarcerate the political focal point from the West to the East through a civilizational change. To uphold its financial, military and logistic development, China will rely much upon the oil-rich nations around the globe. Also, to keep up its vital position and military influence, China will utilize the possibility of geographic nearness and worldwide changed relations after the September 11, on the other hand, the Muslim world nations are probably going to grow close relations with China to offset the Western influence on them. The discussion attempted to point out the feasible implications of China’s rise for the Muslim world positively.
M. Asadur Rahman, PhD, works as a Research Fellow at the Muslim World Research Center (MWRC) Malaysia, and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org