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Interview ( 7 Oct 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Asian Muslim Action Network to Work towards Making the World Better, Safer and Peaceful For Us to Inhabit

By Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, New Age Islam

7 October 2021

Eminent Islamic Scholar and Director Graduate School, State Islamic University, Syarif Hidayatullah, Jakarta, Indonesia  Prof. Azyumardi Azra in conversation with Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, about being his life, works, being elected as new Chairperson of Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN), Thailand, and the challenges this new post offers.

Tell us something about yourself?

I was born in Lubuk Alung, West Sumatra, Indonesia, on March 4, 1955. I graduated from Department of History, Columbia University in 1992. I am a member of advisory board of a number of international organizations such as UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF), International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA). I am presently Director, Graduate School, State Islamic University, Jakarta, Indonesia. I have written and edited more than two dozen books related to Islam, Islam in Indonesia and other such issues.

How long have you been associated with AMAN?

I can’t exactly recall but it certainly must be more than a decade old relation with AMAN.

What was your reaction when AMAN Council members on 31st August, 2013 elected you as the new Chairperson?

I was really surprised because the move was quite unexpected. Now I have been chosen to bear the responsibility of being a Chairperson of AMAN, I am quite worried about being able to do justice with the responsibilities that accompany the chairmanship of AMAN, because I may not be able to give my complete attention to the obligations I am supposed to deliver, because of my tight schedule. I also travel a lot attending to different conferences, delivering lectures and I also teach at various universities.

What are the challenges facing AMAN as an organization?

There are various challenges at present that AMAN is facing. My initiative will be to strengthen and widen the scope the existing programmes. I will also try to prioritize the Inter religious Dialogues and Peace Building courses. So far AMAN, has done good work but there is still scope for its improvement. AMAN has good relations with other NGOs and civil society actors but need is to have relations with governments too. I will also try to improve its revenue by generating more funding using my contacts. 

What steps are you going to take to broaden the sphere of AMAN activities?

I will like to continue and improve the existing programmes. Simultaneously I will try to network and introduce AMAN among government circles and in Asia as a whole.

Being an academic, researcher and Islamic scholar what efforts will you put to improve the research activities of AMAN?

I will try to improve the research conducted through AMAN, but this research will be action oriented rather than ivory tower scholarship. Young scholars will be provided with AMAN research fellowships. Also Asghar Ali Engineer Memorial Fund has been established that will offer fellowships to researchers to conduct research on his scholarly legacy as well as South Asia.

How do you see the future of AMAN?

I am quite optimistic about the future activities and work of AMAN. AMAN has been working now for more than two decades and hundreds of people have participated in its programmes and it has fellows in most parts of the world. AMAN is a reputed name among the NGOs and its work is well known in most countries and governments in Asia as well as other parts of the planet. I will try to build better liaison with these AMAN alumina so that we can jointly work towards making the world better, safer and peaceful for us to inhabit.


M.H.A.Sikander is Writer-Activist based in Srinagar-Kashmir


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