A Magnificent Mosque
The multi-source funding has indeed brought to sight this magnificent mosque in front of us and I am so proud to see such progress made after the country is liberated from the genocide of Pol Pot. It is national progress as the religions have taken its development with Islam being an example here. Though Samdech Cheas Sim, Samdech Heng Samrin and other leaders are not Muslims but after the liberation we have allowed religions to fulfill the needs for development. The second Kingdom always offers ample chance for progress altogether both in religious and secular world.
Harmonizing the Country’s Religions and Ethnics
After the fall of the Pol Pot genocide, CPP has stayed as the sole Party in charge to prevent the return of the regime. After the creation of the Royal Government in the Second Kingdom, HM the King continued to harmonize the people of various ethnicities and religions in the whole country. Cambodia is a special case that might be resemblance to some but not all of the countries in the world.
In the genocidal regime all but nothing stays alive. Buddhism, Islam and other religions all vanished. I used to talk about the chat between a Buddhist and a Muslim as to who got born first between the two – the Buddha and the Alah. The Muslim said both were born at the same time because they both were saved by January 7, 1979 together. This history of Cambodia is true. CPP therefore since its birth always makes efforts to harmonize the religions and races and always considers that differences in race and in religion should not be obstacle to development but on the contrary Cambodia is proud of how we unite without racial discrimination to develop our country.
A Blame on all Muslims an Injustice
I believe that in the world no religion teaches human to do commit sinful act and it is based on this belief that I never agree to the fact that when whatever happens a finger is pointed at Muslim. I am grateful that the Cambodian Muslim Development Fund has taken the time to analyze my speech on inter-belief for peace and harmony in English, Khmer and Arabic. I have stated that it is an injustice that there is always a pretext to put the blame on the Muslims. It is in this context that I disagree with the way CNN or BBC and other TV channels for trumpeting everything wrong to be the mistakes committed by the Muslims.
A Place for Muslim to Pray at Airports
With the suggestion made by HE Ahmat Yahya who has now become the Cambodian People’s Party member, and the decision and intervention of the Council of Ministers, Cambodia has now set aside a place in the Phnom Penh International Airport for the Muslims who travel to and fro to practice their religious praying and I would suggest that we should continue to take this matter into consideration for other airports like in Siem Reap, etc.
Free Dress Code and First Calendar for the Muslims
We have also taken a number of measures to have the Muslim females to go to school both state and private educational institutions in their uniforms. Some countries made it a rule not to allow the Muslim females to put on Islam traditional dress. I have suggested that if they wish to wear the students’ uniform, or they may also put on their traditional dress, it would be up to your wish. I would instruct the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to set up a rule for all to follow. Cambodia would leave it up to you in this matter. Female students from the Muslim community may cover their faces if they wish so.
I know some of their practices because I have a Muslim godfather whom my father helped set him free from being captured by the bad-elements of the Khmer Issarak movement in between 1950 – 51. He was arrested for ransom and my father secretly at night cut him off the strings. In fact Cambodia never forbids students from wearing jeans in school too. As for calendar I would like to suggest the Ministry of Cult and Religious Affairs make a calendar that will actually define correct timetable for our Muslims to practice their religious obligations. I would cover the cost of publishing the first Muslim calendar in English, Khmer and Arabic./.