The official emblem of RISEAP

Consistent with the objective of RISEAP, the design reflects unity and close cooperation with constant contract and association with regional and Islamic organizations throughout the world.

The round-shaped emblem also signifies the constant movement and flow of RISEAP’s activities in working towards the realization of its objectives.

The internal links that are continuous and intertwined reflect another of RISEAP’s objectives, that of promoting the international unity of Muslims so that they may work together in the true spirit of Mua’khat for the advancement of Islam and the betterment of Muslims.

This “chain-reaction” also signifies RISEAP’s activities involving continuous study and research into the religious, educational, social and political aspects of Islam and the Ummah.

The establishment of centers for organized Islamic activities are symbolized by the six domes pointing outwards. These domed units also reflect RISEAP’s motto of da’wah “with wisdom and goodly preaching” through the six principles of Rukun Iman.

The domed units also represent the mosques where Muslims pray reflecting the RISEAP motto “call towards the way of your Lord…”.

The bold lines of the emblem mark the strength of RISEAP to take appropriate action in matters relating to Islam in the region.

In the very beginning….

The initiative to form the Regional Islamic Da’wah Council for Southeast Asia and the Pacific (bearing the acronym “RISEAP”) arose out of a conference that was jointly organized by the Muslim Welfare Organization of Malaysia (PERKIM) and the Muslim World League (Rabitah al-Alam al-Islami) that was held in Kuala Lumpur from 11th to 14th January 1980. It was attended by major Islamic Organizations in the region as well as international organizations, including the Organizations of Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). The Conference called for the formation of an organization to serve the Muslim minorities communities in the region.

As a follow-up, another Conference was held ten months later, on 10th and 11th November 1980, in Kuala Lumpur. Its sole objective was to discuss the formation of RISEAP, to define its scope of activities, its decision-making process, and to finalize its Constitution. RISEAP was born, on 11th November 1980, at the end of this Conference. It was significant that this date coincided with the 3rd Muharram 1401, which was the beginning of a new Islamic calendar year in a new Islamic Millennium.

The founding member organizations were from 17 countries, namely Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Australia, Fiji and New Zealand. Justice Cheemah, represented the World Muslim League (Rabitah al-Alam al-Islami) of Saudi Arabia as an observer, though he was no mere observer since he did not shy away from speaking his mind throughout the Conference.

RISEAP had many well-wishers right from the start. Some of its earlier General Assemblies were attended by Shaikh Safwat al-Amini, who was the Assistant Secretary-General of the World Muslim League in the 1980s and Dr. Muhammad Sharif, the Secretary-General of the Libyan Call Society (Jami’atul Da’wah Libya). These were two of the most influential Islamic organizations that had an international outreach at that time. In addition, Mr Mohamed al-Hamad al-Shubili, the Saudi Arabian Ambassador in Malaysia in the 1980s, and a personal friend of the Tunku, was a generous supporter of RISEAP. The original proposed name for the organization was the “Southeast Asia and Pacific Islamic Council”, bearing the acronym “SEAPIC”. A delegate at the inaugural Conference voiced his concern (perhaps tongue-in-cheek) that the acronym “SEAPIC” sounded like the words “sea pig”, and adopting it may put us at risk of having to bear the brunt of humiliating jibes from the public in years to come. Someone came up with the alternative acronym “RISEAP”, which, he argued, should be deliberately pronounced as “rise-up”. The implications of this manner of pronunciation are that it would make the acronym sound like a rallying cry for Muslims to rise up to the challenges that confront the community in the new Islamic 1400 Millennium (which was, as had been noted earlier in this essay, the exact time of RISEAP’s formation). This suggestion gained immediate support among the delegates. Hence the name of the organization became the “Regional Islamic Da’wah Council for Southeast Asia and the Pacific” or RISEAP.