THREE books on Muslims and Islam were relaunched in George Town to mark the city’s status as a former printing and publishing hub.
Prof Datuk Dr Wazir Jahan Karim, who is the granddaughter of the late Hafiz Ghulam Sarwar, a much-respected mathematician, philosopher and philologist, quipped that the books had to be relaunched here as Penang Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas had told her she would otherwise be “dibuang daerah” (banished from the district).
The books are Straits Muslims: Diasporas of the Northern Passage of the Straits of Malacca, Life of the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W (May Peace Be Upon Him) and Philosophy of the Quran.
The books were earlier launched by Prime Minister’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor at the Islamic Museum, Kuala Lumpur, in May.
“George Town used to be a major regional centre for printing works on Islam, society and politics.
“Malay literature took on an anti-colonial sentiment during the British rule but it was not subjected to much censorship,” she said.
Edited by Dr Wazir, Straits Muslims contains contributions from her, Razzaq Lubis, Khoo Salma Nasution, Syed Farid Alatas, Rokiah Talib and M. Ismail Marcinkowski.
It describes how the early Muslim migrants comprising Indians, Hadramis and Sumatran Malays built a cohesive Muslim civil society and assimilated with local Malays, giving rise to the Jawi Pekan, or Peranakan communities at the Penang port.
“No population in the world has not migrated. We are migrants but we are also citizens of the country,” Dr Wazir said.
The other two books focusing on the development of universal values and inter-faith thoughts and understanding were new editions of early publications by Hafiz Ghulam.
Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong, who represented Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, said more such literary works were needed as people have held on to “too hardened views of race and religion” for too long.
The books, relaunched by Abdul Rahman, were later presented to officials from Masjid Pakistan, Masjid Kapitan Keling and the state mosque.