August 07, 2018
- The center was aimed at putting Malaysia along with Saudi Arabia at the forefront of the fight against violent extremism and ideologies
- Malaysia says the center’s functions will be absorbed by the Malaysian Institute of Defense and Security
King Salman meets with then Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin bin Hussein Onn during the King’s visit in Malaysia in 2017. Hishammuddin subsequently became the chief of the King Salman Center for Global Peace, which was created as part of an agreement during the King’s state visit. (Courtesy of Asharq Al-Awsat)
KUALA LUMPUR: The closure of a Saudi-backed anti-terrorism center in Kuala Lumpur is a loss to Malaysia amid growing terrorism in the Muslim world, the country’s former defense minister said on Tuesday.
The King Salman Center for International Peace was aimed at putting Malaysia along with Saudi Arabia at the forefront of the fight against violent extremism and ideologies, said Hishammuddin Hussein, who is now in opposition.
The center has been closed just over a year after it was launched by King Salman during a visit in March last year.
Defense Minister Mohamad Sabu said the center will cease operation immediately and that its function will be absorbed by the Malaysian Institute of Defense and Security.
The center, which aimed to draw Islamic scholars to combat extremist views and promote tolerance, was announced under former Malaysian leader Najib Razak. It has a temporary office in Kuala Lumpur while awaiting the construction of a permanent building in Malaysia’s administrative capital of Putrajaya.
Najib suffered a surprise defeat in May’s national polls and is now facing corruption charges.
Saudi Arabia has built mosques and schools across the region and offers scholarships to Malaysians and other Southeast Asian Muslims who want to study in Saudi Arabia.