Growing Number of Participants
On behalf of the Royal Government, my wife’s and my own behalf, allow me to extend a warm welcome to the presences of Excellencies, Lok Chumteavs, ladies and gentlemen, national and foreign guests who have taken their precious time to attend the Ramadan-Iftar ceremony with the Cambodian Islam practitioners today. This is my third time that the Royal Government of Cambodia organizes such event to host Cambodian Islam practitioners, with a noting increase of participants from 1,300 in the first event, 4,000 in the second event and 4,500 in the event this year. I am sure that should we have larger space, next year we will have more participants.
As Long As I Am the Prime Minister, Ramadan-Iftar – A National Event
I am grateful to the good words that HE Osman Hassan, Minister attached to Prime Minister in charge of Islam, has said to the ceremony. I also thank HE Ambassador of Pakistan, representing other friendly Islamic communities, for his speech. What impressed me in his speech was that HE Ambassador elaborated about Ramadan and Ramadan-Iftar in Cambodia and noticed that it has become a national event of Cambodia. He made the point that he would like to see it continues. I can affirm that in my premiership until 2018, I will continue to do this work. I will continue my candidacy for the post of Prime Minister of the Cambodian People’s Party in the forthcoming 2018 election. I will nurture hope that I will host this event until 2023 […]
Harmonization of Races, Faiths – A Priority of Internal and External Policy
I rejoice when walking through to get in here, my wife and I received a warm welcome from students of Islam. This has made me prouder with the Cambodian political platform, efforts of the past Royal Government included, in considering policy to harmonize races and faiths a priority among others in its internal and external policies. What is happening in the Kingdom of Cambodia reflects a harmonization among races and faiths. The world is noting turmoil in various places and countries from discrimination and different practices. Particularly, for the Kingdom of Cambodia, this issue has not been in the political agenda that requires solution but in the agenda to maintain and care for the sake of strengthening harmony, solidarity and development of the country.
Different Faith or Races Are No Obstacles to National Development
I could reaffirm with pride that what I have said from the early days in the past 30 years that different races and faiths are no obstacles to process of national development. It is true. People’s need are similar, except the fact that they may have believed in different things. HE Osman Hassan already made a report about fasting and it is a normal norm to practice in every religion, though there may have some little differences. In Islamic Ramadan, practitioners will take a four-month fast period. In Buddhism, monks would stay in pagoda during the rainy season for three months. Different religion may have different way to observe fasting but those practices would not be obstacles and have any impacts on the country. Take for instance, before 6:26 pm today, Islamic followers would not eat anything at all until daybreak. What does fasting of this type cause to people in other religions? Nothing.
Therefore, this sort of thing that people observe different practices from a religion to another, one practice to another, would not make a problem and cause conflict in society. Even Buddhism in Cambodia, we have two different sects already. One is Dhammayuttika Nikaya and another is Maha Nikaya, and what is different between them was one would hold their begging bowls in hands and the other would carry them with a string hanging round their shoulders. They both go for alms from Buddhist followers and there is nothing wrong. There is no conflict. I am so proud with what happened in the Kingdom of Cambodia (as far as religious harmony is concerned) and we must unite and continue to sustain this harmony and strengthen national solidarity.
Muslim Women Students Choose Own Dress Code
You may all noted that our country has gone through so many stages. No matter what faith you may practice or may not, we all are sharing one boat together. We would all sink if the boat sinks. If the boat goes fast, we would get to the target together. There is no other options, having said so, but to drive our national march forward. In so doing, we may not impose this or that way without taking into consideration of different faith. I thank HE Osman Hassan and Oknha Sok Kimri of the Supreme Islamic Council for making proposals one after the other on behalf of our Muslim on Islam issue.
All of you present here today may look at female Muslim students wearing their own dress code. We have permitted them to do what they need to in term of their dress. They may want to dress in a way that schools recommend or their own dress code. You must admit seeing that these female students can dress in their Islamic way and be present in every educational foundations. This is something that some countries in the world, though claiming how free, as far as religion is concerned, and democratic they are, could not materialize.
Lately, after making observation and based on request of Oknha Sok Kimri, we have also allowed photo session for identification cards and passports for female individual according to their religious wish. They may choose to cooperate with police of migration to hide certain parts of their faces, while allowing certain parts required for the identification process.
Conscription of Islamic Teachers
I have given respect to every request of the Muslim people. Last year in the same Ramadan-Iftar event, Oknha Sok Kimri requested for conscription of Islamic teachers as public officials (of the Ministry of Education). Previously, Muslim raised money and paid them to teach. By approving that request, we allowed 1,500 Islamic teachers and as of now, 1,300 of them are already public officials. This has indeed help the Muslim not to pay for their teachers anymore. They are now public officials and receive salary as other teachers. This is one example of education and human resource development without discrimination.
I am so glad that in this era, we have many intellectuals who are Muslims. Walking here from that aisle, I met some who are engineers. Many have chances to go study abroad. More will do. With help given by local and sponsorship from Islamic communities abroad, each year we have growing number of Muslim people going to Hajj pilgrim in (Mecca,) Saudi Arabia. Thousands of them now are able to go. Previously, only dozens would.
Again, I would take this opportune moment to express my sincere thanks to HE Osman Hassan, who always acted on my behalf in solving issues faced by Cambodian Muslim students abroad. Take for instance what happened in Egypt, we had taken measures to evacuate our students back to the country. We did the same for Cambodian Muslims who students faced problems in Yemen to go to Oman and then back to Cambodia. We never leave our students in dangerous situation without care. We give similar attention to them (whether they are Muslims or not).
Cambodia has its troops fulfilling their peacekeeping missions under the umbrella of the United Nations in many countries, some of them are Muslim – Mali, Lebanon, South Sudan, Sudan, Central African Republic. We have instructed our troops to respect culture, tradition and rights of those countries and adapt themselves to religions in which they find themselves […]
Members of Royal Government, Senate, National Assembly to Join Ramadan-Iftar
It is grateful indeed to see this booklet, which reminds me how I dress last year to attend this event. After this Ramadan-Iftar here, I will also attend fast-breaking dinner at the Mosque of Boeung Kak. Samdech Krola Haom Sar Kheng is going to certain mosques. I hope that members of the Royal Government, Senate, National Assembly, subnational level leaders will take their time to participate, at their own time and possibility, in this year’s Ramadan-Iftar. I am calling on those members of the Royal Government, Senate, National Assembly, and leaders who support me, and the Cambodian People’s Party, to make their time whenever they can to join our Cambodian Muslims in their fast-breaking dining session.
Thank Surin Pitsuwan
This is a once a year event. We will meet again next year. I thank our foreign friends, especially representative of HE Iyad Ameen Madani, Secretary General of Organization of Islamic Cooperation, who have travelled a long way for this event. I also thank HE Surin Pitsuwan, former Secretary General of ASEAN, with whom I have worked on numerous occasions and issues. In our diplomatic actions, we did two jobs together. One was to deal with participation of a foreign minister, which I do not need to mention, and another we had established a Global Dialogue on world economic issues. You did many things to help me in your position as Secretary General of ASEAN. We had worked together in the framework of ASEAN, East Asia, etc. You already retired but you have come to Cambodia today to see what Cambodia do for Islamism, while you yourself is an Islamic follower in the Kingdom of Thailand […]
Abide by Religious Instructions, Respect of State Law
No matter which faiths you may belong to today Allah blessed us for a peaceful life. Allah, Buddha or Christ, or others have instructed us humans to do good deed. Doing a good deed as instructed by religion – Islamism included, contributes greatly to state management. People who follow instruction of any given faiths will perform good deed. With that, it is a favor for state to do their job. As Prime Minister, I have used state control methodology for about 30 years to combine religious teaching with state law abiding by. The dialectical relation between religion and state or secular and religious worlds is far too strong. As long as people abide by religious advices, they would indeed give state law their respects. Coordinating state control through role of religions provides us peace, social order, and raises moral. It will also drive higher human knowledge and ascertain win-win situation for national development./.