KUALA LUMPUR: Keep loving, keep caring, keep understanding, keep sharing, keep giving and keep forgiving – these are the ways to ensure religious harmony in Malaysia, said Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) director Mohd Ajib Ismail.
He was speaking after hosting Christian, Buddhist and Hindu religious leaders for a Ramadan breaking of fast event at the Federal Territory Mosque yesterday.
“When all members of society understand what these six elements are, then our lives will be more harmonious and our nation will improve in terms of societal development,” he told FMT after the event.
The event was one of many interfaith iftars co-organised by Global Unity Network, a group headed by Muslim activist Shah Kirit Kakulal Govindji, who was also the recipient of the National Maulidur Rasul Award in 2012.
An interfaith dialogue session was held as well.
Among those present to join Muslims in breaking their fast were Buddhist chief high priest K Sri Dhammaratana, Jason Leong of Christians for Peace and Harmony in Malaysia (CPHM) and Bala Tharma from the Malaysian Organisation for Hindu Knowledge on Science, Heritage and Arts.
Speaking at the event, Sri Dhammaratana said while religions are often blamed for causing conflicts, religious teachings promote peace and harmony.
He said the former was due to self-styled prophets who have no clue about their own faiths’ teachings.
Bala Tharma spoke about how some Hindus misinterpret their religious texts, thinking that the Bhagavad-Gita permits mass slaughter because Lord Krishna is seen as encouraging the scripture’s protagonist, Arjuna, to fight, when this is only allowed in special instances.
Leong meanwhile said social media could be easily abused as a tool to sow discord among religious followers.
“Sometimes very poisonous words are spread in WhatsApp messages. Please be mindful before sending them,” he said.
“If we are kind in our words and deeds, it will go a long way in promoting national unity.”
Shah Kirit said he did not agree with the notion that religious matters should be kept private.
Instead, like politics which he said was once a taboo subject in public conversations, religion too should be made into a talking point in Malaysia.
“With social media and technology, discussions are happening. Our children are being questioned about their religion, faith and beliefs. We need to address this,” he said. “But how we manage the dialogue is important.”