KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 — Hundreds of Muslim activists are set to join a major convention in the country’s capital today to unite the community and outline their demands, just months before the 14th general election (GE14) is held.
Called “Konvensyen Kebangkitan Ummah” (Malay for “Community Revival Convention), the event will be held at a hall in the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department’s (Jawi) Islamic Centre near Lake Gardens that can accomodate 1,000 participants.
The convention is organised by a coalition calling itself Gerakan Pembela Ummah (Community Defenders’ Movement), a new umbrella group of around 300 local Muslim NGOs, formed reportedly to lobby and reinforce the position of Islam and Muslims in the country.
In its press statement released last month, Ummah outlined the two main objectives of the convention: to increase awareness on the need for Muslim unity for the sake of the country’s stability, and to list down their demands towards authorities to ensure the legitimacy of Islam and the Malays.
The convention is scheduled to discuss seven main topics divided by clusters lead by prominent local Muslim activists.
The first cluster on laws and Shariah will be lead by Datuk Wan Ahmad Fauzi Husain from Muslim group Ittihad, the second cluster is on education by Datuk Abdul Raof Hussin from a group representing retirees from the education system, and the third cluster will be about dakwah, or evangelism, by Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz who used to head the Islamic Development Department Malaysia (Jakim).
Other clusters cover topics such as the economy (Ahmad Yazid Othman from Malay Economic Action Council or MTEM), society (Datuk Nadzim Johan from Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association or PPIM), Malay reserve and rights (Zaharah Sulaiman from Malaysia Archaeology Alliance), and youths (Muhamad Faizzuddin Mohd Zai from student group Gamis).
Ummah was started in May last year, before it was officially launched in July at the Putrajaya headquarters of government-linked trust agency Yayasan Dakwah Islamiah Malaysia (Yadim).
The group said among its objectives are to preserve the dominance and strength of Muslims in the country’s politics, and to ensure that the government implements Islamic values in its administration.
The group is chaired by renowned Muslim scholar Ismail Mina Ahmad from the group Muafakat, and the secretariat is headed by Aminuddin Yahaya, the deputy president of Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma).