T K Devasia
2 March 2012 KUALA LUMPUR — UAE-based businessman M A Yusuff Ali was conferred with the prestigious Interfaith Harmony Award endowed with the United Nation’s Interfaith Harmony Week initiatives here on Thursday.
Dato’ Azman Amin B Hassan, Director-General of Department of National Unity and Integration, Government of Malaysia, presented the award to him on the occasion of an international seminar on interfaith harmony organised jointly by the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and Kerala-based Madin Islamiyya Academy (MSA).
Speaking on the occasion, Yusuff Ali said those who were creating communal strife were not true Muslims. He said that he would have ceased to be a Muslim if he had recruited only members of the community in his business establishments.
“I have employed 27,000 persons from different communities from as many as 29 countries. I believe a true Muslim cannot go to sleep without feeding his hungry neighbour,” said Yusuff Ali, who is the only non-Arab member of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce.
Presenting the award Dato’ Azman said interfaith harmony and tolerance was the need of the hour at a time when the Muslim community was being misunderstood in many parts of the world. He said that the Malaysian government had set up a special committee to promote communal harmony and tolerance. Dr Ahmed Ibrahim Abushouk, Director, International Institute for Muslim Unity at the IIU said that the award to Yusuff Ali was also a recognition to the hetrogenous society living harmoniously in the Gulf countries. Yusuff Ali has been working with them and promoting interfaith harmony, he added.
The seminar stressed the need for opening avenues for dialogues between different communities and efforts to strengthen the message of interfaith harmony and tolerance.