DYMM Pemangku Raja Perak Darul Ridzuan, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah ibni Sultan Azlan Muhibuddin Shah was invited to give a speech entitled “Islam, Muslims and Human Rights” on 9 November 2011 as part of the seminars touching on the Arab Spring organised by the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS). Tuanku’s titah ucapan was held at the Examination Schools Building of Oxford University and was attended by College fellows of the University of Oxford, including Datuk Dr Afifi Al-Akiti of Worcester College and Dr Farhan Nizami of Magdalen College, and students, both local and Malaysian.
In his titah ucapan, Tuanku described how Islam has always championed human rights way before the West was enlightened to do so. Even before the time when 18th century Europe reached the Age of Enlightenment in the time of Locke and Rousseau, or when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations in 1948, Islam through the Al-Quran has laid down rules on preserving human dignity, for both men and women. Tuanku had also pointed out that whilst human rights is ensconced in Islam, it has its boundaries.
The following is an excerpt of Tuanku Raja Nazrin’s speech at Oxford:
Tuanku had also touched on the West’s unfair perception on Muslim nations especially in the context of what is perceived as democracy, an example being how Muslim countries like Malaysia and Indonesia are successful democracies have never been highlighted especially by Western media. Tuanku also urged that the way forward in establishing peace is meaningful dialogue between the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to see each other’s common ground.
Tuanku’s titah lasted an hour and was well received by those attending. The provost of Worcester College, Professor Jonathen Bate, then gave a short summing up speech before thanking Tuanku for returning to Oxford for the seminar. Following his titah, Tuanku spent time speaking to members of the floor as well as Malaysian students who came from far and wide for the evening’s proceedings.
Tuanku Raja Dr Nazrin Shah is an alumnus of Worcester College, Oxford where Tuanku read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE).