ISTAC (International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation) was founded, designed, landscaped, interior-decorated and directed by Prof Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas whose consistent life-long struggle and commitment has been to explain and clarify the worldview of Islam and its civilizational contributions as well as the various philosophical and cultural challenges that Muslims hv been confronted with, and he has proposed the most strategic ways of dealing with them.
Without doubt, ISTAC under his leadership has produced much success in various aspects–from its architecture, its academic rigour, publications, intellectual ambience, passion, and integrity, to its unique library collection and inter-mazhabic and inter-religious engagements.
In 2002, when the leadership, autonomy, philosophy and orientation of ISTAC was drastically changed, ISTAC quickly declined in various important ways. Many local and foreign scholars, politicians, students and cultural leaders have expressed their wish to see it revived to fulfill its original and well conceived objectives and mission–especially after the tragic consequences of September 11.
Reviving ISTAC not only requires strong political will but also the intellectual and moral integrity of scholars and educational leaders. It is not about reclaiming a name or gaining personal or career advancement or promoting personal projects but more about helping this nation make better progress and development especially during these challenging times.