By Danial Yusof
Muslim Exchange Programme (MEP) is not a new programme in this modern era. It was conducted many years ago and it is a continuous programme. This programme is aimed for Muslim leaders around the world to meet and share their knowledge and to build relationship among them. Some people might think Muslims only are found in Middle-East countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Tunisia or Iraq, but actually, Muslims live everywhere on earth nowadays.
This programme is also intended to expose youth to countries where Muslims are the minority. This is where they do not have a platform to share and learn knowledge from other scholars or leaders. MEP activities are mostly carried out in countries with majority Muslims. But there are efforts now to expose the programme in other countries where Muslim scholars and leaders can meet and discuss matters related to Islam.
This programme has many benefits. When Muslim youth travel to other countries like Malaysia they can learn more about customs, cultures and faiths practised in this country. For some of them this is something new to discover as Malaysia is a multiracial county where the people practise different religions and culture living in harmony among various races or ethnic groups. Furthermore, these delegates had the opportunity to meet and greet leaders and scholars. Indeed, this was something of honour for them.
Besides, this programme has enabled them to discuss anything related to the Muslims around the globe. Although this programme may focus on greeting session for Muslim youth between two or three countries but this has been a good platform for them to discuss and come up with suggestions to solve problems faced by Muslims. As youth, it is a good time for them to think about the future as they are the future leaders who would take over from the present generation. Delegates from all countries can have a so-called “chit-chat” time and discuss issues from different perspective such as academic, social, economic and politic.
The latest programme by MEP was conducted between Malaysia and Australia. Australia sent a six-member delegation and met the Minister of Youth and Sports, Khairy Jamaluddin to share their problems of youth in Muslim minority like Australia.
The delegation also visited TV Al-Hijrah and some of them had the opportunity to appear in a program called Assalamualaikum and shared their experiences in Malaysia. Before leaving Malaysia the delegation also visited IIUM campus where members had the opportunity to discuss their issues and exchange views with students and lecturers. They were also interviewed by IIUM.fm to express their views and intentions of the visit.***