Munif Zarirruddin Fikri
Associate Professor, School of Languages, Civilization and Philosophy, the University Utara, Malaysia
Dr. Munif Zarirruddin Fikri Nordin is an associate professor at the School of Languages, Civilization and Philosophy, at the University Utara, Malaysia. His areas of specialisation are religious discourse analysis, sociology of language and religion, and philosophy of language. He teaches a variety of courses at the foundational, undergraduate and postgraduate levels on Islamic culture and history; Asian cultures, languages, and thought; philosophy and linguistics. He also supervises masters’ and PhD students in these fields.
Dr. Munif conducted inter-religious dialogue research titled “Inter-Religious Discourse in Malaysia: Construction of Malaysian National Culture and Identity Model” that was funded by the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia under Trans-Disciplinary Research Grant Scheme. He was a visiting fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OXCIS), University of Oxford, from October 2012 until September 2013. At OXCIS, he took part in a research project titled: Methodology of ‘Ilm al-Tafsir and Critical Discourse Analysis: A Philosophy of Language Comparison. He believes that identifying the actual problem at the beginning with the goal of coming out with the right solution at the end is the most challenging thing in our daily life.
Interreligious Activities and Initiatives
The Intellectualisation of the Malay Language As a Religious Language through Interreligious Dialogue in Malaysia
In Malaysia, the Malay language as a religious language linguistically relates to religious meaning and interpretation which are dominated by Muslims. The Muslim hegemony controls the religious truth of the meaning and interpretation in the Malay language. From the traditionalist Muslim perspective, as Islam is the federal religion, it is above all other religions. However, the hegemony is opposed to the Federal Constitution because it states that the Malay language is the language of all activities including the religious activities of all religions. Therefore, in order to enhance the role of the Malay language from an exclusive religious language to an inclusive religious language, it is important to intellectualise the language through interreligious dialogue in the names of intellectual tradition, academic freedom and academic culture in Malaysia. The intellectualisation of the Malay language means the ability of the language to express intellectually religious messages of all religions in Malaysia by taking into consideration the role of English as a religious language of all religions all over the world. Through activities in interreligious dialogues, the intellectualisation of the Malay language has strong potential strengthening mutual understanding, mutual respect and tolerance among different religious followers who participate in the dialogue.