KUALA NERUS, 20 Februari – Islamic awareness and a sense of calm sereneness are among the key factors why Terengganu is much more preferred as a home to live and learn, according to international students of Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA).
Speaking to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Economics, Dr Umar Muhammad Dabachi Bida, 38, describes the level of Islamic awareness in Terengganu as principled a strong spirit of Ikhwan (brotherhood) whenever he visits mosques.
“When you look around Gong Badak Campus and Kuala Nerus, this is a very peaceful place, the level of crime here is very low compared to Kuala Lumpur and Penang, the security is there.
“You rarely see any Muslims dressing anyhow, you can find Masjid anywhere, even within the community people respect integrity and humanity, everything here is moderate, lawful and simple. As a Nigerian Muslim, I am in a safe place.
“Economically speaking, the cost of living here is relatively cheap as well, with two ringgit you can buy food outside, anybody especially foreign students can afford to stay here,” said the Nigerian scholar.
Umar also advises the local people to continue to strengthen the Islamic way of life with knowledge, learning English, Arabic while recommending the local government and parents to teach Quran and Hadith for the future generation.
He added, seeing UniSZA as his destiny, it has been a good institution to master his field relating to developmental, environmental with oil and gas, thanks to complete and world-class facilities that are equal to the task.
Another student who shares her positive experience regarding the Islamic surrounding was Fatimah Abdullah (Xu Jing), 38, stating that it is an easier place for her to practise Islam.
“Since coming here for the first time back in 2013, Surau and Mosque are common and easy to find, I can wear my scarf and find halal food effortlessly, a totally different experience compared to China.
“Besides that, I feel much more comfortable staying here with the beautiful places to visits and the friendly people and friends I make along the way,” said the Mandarin teacher.
“One of the best things about Terengganu as said by my son are the mosques,” said a PhD learner in Tourism Marketing from Pakistan, Asif Sanaullah Balti.
The 35-year-old father living in Tok Jembal shared his love for the beautiful and plentiful mosques around Kuala Nerus, saying that the daily sermons and Al-Quran recital make him feel very welcome.
Talking to the Director of UniSZA’s International Center, Anuar McAfee mentions that the Muslim majority environment plays a large influence in bringing in new foreign students to come and live here.
“Compared to the challenges and temptations outside of the east coast, it feels like home here for them, we were worried at first whether or not these foreigners would adapt here, but it seems they blended in very well and are accepted by the community,” he said.