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Fostering Religious Tolerance

Jan 17, 2016 Hit: 673
Fostering Religious Tolerance

KUALA LUMPUR: For a group of youths, the answer to questions of unity was literally blowing in the wind. At a “Divine Wind” programme at an event themed “Blowing the wind of love and unity” yesterday, scores of youths and young adults visited five places of worship to better learn about other cultures and religions.

Organised by the Friendship Group for Inter-religious Service (FGIS) and supported by the National Unity and Integration Department, the half-day tour saw them touring Masjid Negara, the Sri Kandaswamy temple, Buddhist Maha Vihara in Brickfields, Orthodox Syrian Church and Gurdwara Sahib in Petaling Jaya. Accompanying them were youth interfaith leaders from the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) and Islamic Youth Movement of Malaysia.

 

 

 

 

 

FGIS first secretary and CCM youth leader Jacob Simon said the event was aimed at fostering unity and friendship among all Malaysians. “We live together ... we are all the same in our hearts,” he added. Abim vice-president Ahmad Fahmi Mohd Samsudin said they hoped to conduct the event every six months. Friendship Group for Inter Religious Services Presents Divine Wind-‘Blowing the Wind of Love and Unity’ at Masjid Negara Kuala Lumpur.

Ahmad Fahmi welcoming participants to the tour of Masjid Negara in Kuala Lumpur. Sunil Hashmukharay, FGIS second secretary and Divine Wind 2.0 project manager, said the last such event in 2008 was organised by FGIS founder Datuk J. Jegatheesan. “What makes this different is that besides a tour of a temple or a mosque, we also had Q&A sessions with officials who explained about their religions and the values we all share,” he added.

A participant, Chong Kok Hoong, 27, said he was excited to be at the event. “I wanted to learn more about other religions. This is a significant event in a multiracial country, as it helps us get to know each other and find common ground,” he added. Fresh graduate Nazrathul Aklily Shamsulakmal, 24, said she had heard about the event from Abim members.

“I learnt a lot. We may not worship the same way but we are all grateful to God and have similar teachings to do good. “Before this, I was curious about temples but hesitant to go in as I didn't know what to do,” she added. Analyst Parveen Kaur, 24, said: “It was definitely a good way to spend a Saturday. It's the first time I've been inside a mosque, and everyone explained things very clearly.”

FGIS is an informal gathering of major religious groups representing Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism for the purpose of promoting interracial and interfaith harmony through community service. It is presently headed by Prof Dr Suresh Govind.

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