Present at this gathering were Sister Ng Lai Peng, Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia (BMSM) Kajang Branch, Annamalai from the Uchi Vinayagar Temple, and Sivagama Ratna Siva Sri Gobi Karuna Karan Gurrukal, Mohd Faridh Hafez Mohd Omar, Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM), Doraisamy Suppiah, Praveena, Nisha and Phillip, Baha’i Faith, Rev Fr George Harrison, Parish priest Holy Family Church and Jude Benjamin, PCC Chairperson of the Holy Family Church Kajang.
Jude shared on the diverse activities that are carried out to encourage the growth of religious and moral values among their members, and the outreach activities that cross the individual religious boundaries, to promote peace, unity and harmony in the multi-religious society of Malaysia.
The religious leaders or their representatives came forward to say a few words of prayer for peace and unity in our community. They said it in their language and in their way – Sanskrit, mantra, Arabic/ Bahasa Melayu and English and in song. There was no judgment, there was no prejudice. It was a time just to listen, and appreciate the beauty of the different methods in praying for peace.
Sister Ng Lai Peng said we must not harm anyone around us. Mohd Faridh prayed that our hearts be directed towards to truth. The Gurrukal said, “We all have light within us that shines on people around us. We cannot hide this light which always radiates upwards.” Fr George said we should emulate the Holy Father Pope Francis in building bridges and promoting peace in society.
Dr Ong Kian Ming, Serdang MP graced the event. He said that events like this are greatly needed to enhance religious harmony in society. He related his upbringing in a Buddhist family, experience of inter-religious dialogue and visits to various places of worship in Malaysia. He said people should take the initiative to experience other religions, for example fasting during Ramadan and relating to the Bible verse (Matthew 6:5-18) that says “… when you fast …” not “if you fast …”.
Almost 200 people of various religions, local community members (Holy Family Church leaders, SMK Convent school teachers, Tadika Holy Family Teachers, Kajang Prison staff and their families from various religious backgrounds) took the time to socialize and get to know one another better. The event was entertained by the Tadika Holy Family’s energetic children of various religions; traditional Catholic Indian dance from the Holy Family community, Baha’i devotional songs and poems.
Rev. Father George highlighted the role of BEC and Zones to enhance inter-religious harmony in society. “If as BECs and Zones we continuously have interactions with our neighbours of other religions, we can help to increase awareness and sensitization towards each other’s religion. This is a small role that each of us can do in our multi-religious society. Let us continue to build bridges towards a world of peace and harmony. Amen.”