An Evening With Professor Paul Morris

Yesterday, I had a short yet a wonderful moment with Professor Paul Morris, a renowned scholar in the field of contemporary world religions and also the Director of Religious Studies, Victoria University Of wellington. He came all away from the kiwi land to Malaysia for the purpose of Islamic Studies in which he is interested with. Due to his tight schedule, Our University managed to get him landed on our beautiful campus and we later had a short public talk with him. Honestly, I’ve never heard his name before, but because of this program I don’t think I would forget him!. At first, he was asked to talk about the contribution of religion to peace making and conflict resolution, yet due to time constraint he only touched a bit on that part while enlightening us about Islam in New Zealand and how this particular country trying to adapt its position and relation with regard to Islam especially after September 11 incident. I was so astonished when he said, it used to be that the numbers of Muslims there were only 200, but then after September 11 it has increased so much so that they are now around 40,000 in number which is equivalent to 1%. He made his point clear that evening when he mentioned that he and his team are working hard for the establishment of CSIMC (Centre for Studies of Islam & Muslim Culture) here in New Zealand which is expected to be launched in 2010. MasyaAllah, It is a very pleasant thing to hear such news.

The room had been getting even warmer when he expresses his views in which he stated that when people are caught up in a religious war, then the solution should also be sought in religion namely a religious engagement. What he was trying to deduce is that, people in our times need to be religious peace makers and not a secular one. I cannot resist myself than to agree most with him when he said that. He added that, there is something beyond conflict and religion has as indispensable and unique role in conflict resolution. Just look at how different religious traditions have been talking about peace resolutions though they might come with different visionary of it. Not to forget, he is also critical of those who claim that all conflicts in the world are because of religion. For him, religion has such a significant role as to cope with two ideologies that are dominating the modern society namely the global capitalism and sciences (as in the case of neo dominion philosophy and survival of the fittest notion). Prof Morris ended the session with some Q&A and left us with an ‘enlightenment’ state =) of being aware of the significant of being a religious peace makers. In fact, I see him as one. An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind, and this is true if we reflect the condition of our world today. Indeed, our Creator has given us a choice to change our condition as stated in Qur'an 13:11

“Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls). but when (once) Allah willeth a people's punishment, there can be no turning it back, nor will They find, besides him, any to protect.”


bazLa' said...

subhanAllah, I also just heard his name.

From 200 to 40,that's so amazing!!