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Published on July 04, 2019 with No Comments

Bandar Seri Begawan proclaimed as Capital of Islamic Culture for the Asian Region 2019.



Brunei Darussalam is reputed to be the most ancient of Malay states in the Southeast Asian region. Since the first ruler of Brunei Darussalam, Awang Alak Betatar (Sultan Muhammad Shah), Islam has played, and still plays, a very central role in the history of the Sultanate. Its dynamic and ancient history, coupled with centuries-old practices of Malay culture, traditions, language, arts, crafts and an Islam-centric way of life, is today preserved and enshrined in the Sultanate’s national philosophy known as the Malay Islamic Monarchy, known in Malay as “Melayu Islam Beraja” (MIB).

Bandar Seri Begawan abounds with some of Southeast Asia’s most iconic architecture, collections of historical artefacts and cultural landmarks. Alongside the steadfast Islamic leadership of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, Brunei’s MIB philosophy, its rich history and way of life in accordance to the concept of “Negara Zikir” (A Nation In Prayer), Brunei was recently chosen as Capital of Islamic Culture for the Asian Region, an initiative by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO). With this honour, Bandar Seri Begawan now joins a long list of other cities in Africa, Middle East and Asia recognised by ISESCO annually since 2005 for enriching the culture of their regions.

The Capitals of Islamic Culture programme was incepted through an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) resolution in 2002. The main criterion for selection is outstanding contribution to both Islamic and universal culture, confirmed through the scientific, cultural, literary and artistic works of scholars. Makkah, Saudi Arabia was named the first capital for ISESCO’s inaugural programme that today continues in its aim to foster cultural enrichment, encourage dialogue between states and build global bridges. And, in tune with the resolution of the 10th Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers, ISESCO proclaimed 2019 as the year of heritage in the Islamic world.

Kicking off the year-long activities to celebrate its selection, an exhibition called the “Trail of Islamic Architecture” was launched in January at the Arrival Hall, Brunei International Airport. The exhibition showcased an illustration of Brunei’s Islamic leadership, way of life and history as well as the architectures and monuments of Islamic arts and designs in Bandar Seri Begawan as well as calligraphy works was displayed for a month to the public, guests and visitors to the country. Other activities planned for the year include the 2nd International Islamic Expo and Photography Exhibition on Al-Quds Al-Sharif. More information on the activities and celebratory events of Bandar Seri Begawan as the “Capital of Islamic Culture for the Asian Region 2019” will be on the website of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports kkbs.gov.bn.

Joining Bandar Seri Begawan and Tunisia this year in recognition of their historical significance in the areas of culture, arts, social sciences and architecture are Al-Quds Al-Sharif and Guinea-Bissau’s capital, Bissau. Tunis was included as a fourth capital since it will host the 11th Islamic Conference of Culture Ministers from 17-19 December, 2019.

Visit bsbcic2019.gov.bn for more info.

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