Muslim public relations (PR) practitioners need to pool their resources and expertise in reshaping perception and rebrandng Islam, said Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
The former prime minister said now was the right time for Muslims to showcase the potential of the modern ummah (Muslim community) to contribute to human civilisation.
“We can show that Islam’s legacy to mankind’s progress is not merely frozen in a golden age centuries ago, but a continuous, ongoing contribution,” he said at the inaugural Global Muslim Public Relations Excellence Award presentation, tonight, held in conjunction with the first Global Congress for Muslim Public Relations Practitioners (GCMPRP).
The four-day conference themed “The Practice of Public Relations In Islamic Countries – Past, Present and Future Trends”, organised by the International Islamic University Malaysia and Tehran-based Kargozar Public Relations Institute (KPRI) and supported by the Federation of Asean Public Relations Organisations, has attracted 27 speakers from 17 countries to present their papers.
Abdullah said it would require a sustained, concerted effort, and not just the isolated, occasional success story that received cursory mention from time to time.
He said with the pooled resources from Muslim PR practitioners, an effective campaign needed to be crafted and executed, and outlets needed to be identified for the campaign to be carried out as often as possible.
“So often, the international mainstream media are at best apathetic and at worst, resistant to carry positive stories (on Islam), although organisations such as al-Jazeera have emerged to increasingly allow alternative viewpoints to see the light,” he added.
Abdullah said new modern telecommunications should also be used as the means to carry positive news on Islam.
He urged Muslim PR practitioners “to use this unique moment in history to recast perceptions and remake our brand.
However, the window of opportunity is small and closing rapidly.
“We must seize the moment before the fickle and fleeting attention of the world moves on to the next global phenomenon. We must use this chance to show once and for all, that Muslims are active, fully contributing and constructive members of the global community – a force for good and a force for progress,” he said.
Abdullah also witnessed the exchange of a collaboration agreement between the Institute of Public Relations Malaysia (IPRM) and Indonesia’s Perhimpunan Hubungan (Perhumas) on respect for each other’s ethics and code of conduct, besides enhancing cooperation. IPRM was represented by its president Ibrahim Abdul Rahman and Perhumas, by its president Prita Kemal Gani.