– Oknha Sos Kamry, Chairman of the High Council for Islamic Religious Affairs in Cambodia,
– Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen Distinguished National and International Guests,
– Imam, Tuon and Students!
Today, my wife and I are delighted to participate with Oknha Chairman of the Highest Council for Islamic Religious Affairs in Cambodia, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, Imam, Tuon and Islamists from all over the place, national and international distinguished guests in the Islamic Feast of Breaking the Fast. This ceremony underlines the attention of the Royal Government of Cambodia to Islam and Islamists as well as other religions aimed to enhance benevolence and closeness between Islamists and followers of other religions as well as national and international leadership. Overall, this has brought about solidarity, warmth and harmony throughout the country.
In fact, this ceremony does not mean that the Royal Government of Cambodia gives attention to Islam for the first time, but throughout the national restoration and development process after the 7 January liberation day. The Royal Government indeed has given equal attention to Islam and other religions by helping construct mosques, ensuring the freedom to Islamic practice especially establishing the highest institutions of Islamic affairs as raised by H.E Osman Hassan. On this basis, Islam in Cambodia has achieved significant progress and stood on equal footing as Islamic religion in the region and the world.
At the same time, I would like to express high appreciation to all level of the management of Islam in Cambodia in the Government, in Highest Council for Islamic Affairs in Cambodia and in Islam Community for the concerted effort to fulfill your responsibilities that has brought about significant achievements to Islam community and contribution to the Cambodia’s socio-economic development. I would also like to express high appreciation to the international Islam community in both the region and the world, for providing both mental and financial supports to religion, humanitarian and other sectors for contributing to the development of Cambodia.
I would like to take this opportunity to illustrate why we support buos (monasticism). What is the purpose of monasticism? In fact, monasticism exists in all religions, but the practice varies from one religion to another. Fasting also varies from one religion to another – at night time, in day time, within a limited period, for whole life, while some religious monasticism allow the intake of only vegetable or forbid egg. In spite of different practice of monasticism of different religions, their objectives of monasticism or fasting are not much different. Overall, monasticism in Islam and other religions are to find peace of mind and stability which eventually leads to peace and stability in family, community, society and the whole nation. Monastics general have peace of mind which is the result of the training of mind, body, speech and attitude to reach the four virtue of Brahma (Prumvihear Thor) states that include Metta (benevolence) which teaches friendship to all beings, Karuna (compassion) which teaches love and sympathy to all beings, Mudita (empathetic joy) which teaches joy in the happiness of others to all beings and Upeka (equanimity), which teaches sincerity to all beings. Therefore, we can see that monasticism can bring about both mental and physical peace.
Indeed, the significant achievement that Islamists have made since the liberation day almost 30 years ago has based on the favorable society with peace and political stability and great attention from the Royal Government of Cambodia. Having said that, it is clearly shown that the remarkable achievement we have made so far is not a simple case because while Cambodia made tireless efforts to rebuild its nation by starting from zero or even below base after 7th January 1979, we need to harmonize among all the religious people in Cambodia’s land. Our concerted effort has led Cambodia to receiving full peace and national unification, and Cambodia could also be able to integrate herself with international communities in regional and sub-regional frameworks, having good friendship and cooperation with all the countries and we have received great supports for the development of Cambodia, including the promotion of Islam religion in Cambodia.
Overall, Cambodian Muslims does not only survive from the ruin period that religious belief or practice was almost completely destroyed and then they live happily and peacefully, but other achievements in Islamic religion have also re-surged significantly. As a result, Islamists living in other countries are now able to visit Cambodia and bring along with aids in the form of the assistance affiliated with religion and humanitarian to Cambodian Muslim and their communities in Cambodia. In this regard, we clearly see that in general, the achievements that the nation has made and in particular the Cambodian Muslims has attained, resulted from concerted efforts being made by the Royal Government of Cambodia and supports from our people, including Cambodian Muslim. Therefore, we have to maintain these achievements, so that this will provide an opportunity for the Royal government of Cambodia to continue to lead the development of the country in all sectors, together with ensuring harmonization, peace, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Royal government of Cambodia and building up truth from International community, enabling Cambodia to ensure equal face and rights with other countries in region and the globe. In this regard, it is undeniable that if we lost peace and political stability, as a consequence, it would lead to disappear religions.
Taking the opportunity of this gathering for the celebration of the end of Ramadan and with the purpose of further enhancing prestige of Cambodian Muslim and by being a good role models for community and society, particularly gaining good collaboration and more truth from other religious parishioners, all levels of civil servants, national and international community and for the benefit of Cambodian Muslim, I would like to provide a number of recommendations as follows:
First, strict obedient to Muslim discipline: As I have learned that law of the country and Islam’s tenets is likely to be contradicted. In this regard, the religious beliefs and practices linked to the obedient to the current laws in place are the obligation that every Cambodian Islamists, in particular Islamic leaders at all levels can avoid. Our Islamists have learned Ramadan from school where prevail disciplines are applied to all activities, so that you all are easy to obey to laws of the country and religious principles to transform yourselves to become a good citizen, role model Muslim person and show potential of Islam religion to other religion’s believers.
Second, Personal Development and Islamic Community: In my view, all Islamic practices are strategically teaching activities for the development and progress in all areas. Obviously, the five obligations of Islamic religion are aimed to educate people, such as teachings on science and ethics, culture, economy, society and communication and so on. All the principles set by Islamic religion are good and appropriate for each Muslim. That is to say, regularly adhering to Islamic principles will make each adherent become sufficiently capable for development and progress. Hence, all Muslims should make their religious practices into real-life and regular teaching and learning in order to succeed your life.
Third, Solidarity and Fraternity: I am of the view that none of any Islamic practices neither teaches nor pays attention on the importance of solidarity and fraternity amongst religions and in humanity. In fact, any activities causing into the separation of peoples into different groups and teams for any cause is not ignited by the Islamic belief. Muslim praying of the followers together in temple, and the beginning and the ending of fasting season obviously shows that unity and solidarity. A mistake of any individual as well as leader in any activities is an experience on which all of you could help give feedback, remind and correct since a Muslim represents the whole Islamic religion. Hence, all Muslims should be responsible to accept and correct that mistake. The different practices in one religion leading to many different sects is not a cause for the separation of people that could be be reconciled. The problem between different sects in one religion could not be more difficult that problem between religions whose the fundamental are varied, and could not be more difficult than the problem between many political parties. Hence, being able to reconcile with mutual dignity given to each other to live with dignity is more important.
Fourth, Promoting Social Affairs: as previously mentioned, fasting means adapting yourself to society by putting oneself into the shoes of people who are poor or sharing the hardship of the poor, vulnerable and helpless. Therefore, Muslims should make the purpose of fasting become real activities in your community through either direct or indirect support, including seeking more assistance to meet the people’s needs in the community. Only neighbors in the same community can know the situation well of their neighbors well and provide timely assistance to them. The ignorance of fasting purpose can lead to loss of merits from good deeds you have been arduously saving from your practices.
Fifth, Fidelity and Honesty: all of the religious practices of Islam will not be accepted by Allah and not be rewarded with heaven, if they not carried out with honesty and fidelity. Honesty is not connected with any benefit in life, even the slightest. Therefore, you, as a messenger, who brings trust and message from god for dissemination and materials from other people for distribution should observe your activities over and over again whether you have righteously practiced them in response to the trust given. Exploitation, nepotism and activities aimed to get benefits from managing and distributing religious assistance or humanitarian aid totally contradicts both law of the land and religious law, which would result in the loss of trust. Consequently, you should refrain from the aforementioned bad deeds in order to receive blessings in return.
In the spirit of what mentioned above, it reflects that both Islamic Dharma and principles wish for the realization of solidarity, peace, warmth and harmony within the society. Thus, adhering to Islam will contributes to happiness, peace, stability and social order which government has continued to support and promote.
Once again, I would like to thank Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Imam, Tuon, distinguished national and international guests, and all students here for spending your invaluable time to attend this Ramadan, and making it successful with fraternity and closeness.
Finally, I wish all participants success in the religious education, and I wish His Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, Imam, Tuon and distinguished national and international guests, and all students the three Islamic blessings from Allah, recitation contestants, with happiness and prosperity./.