THE Federal Territory mufti and officials from a clutch of influential Muslim organisations last night made nonsense of the ruckus created by some right-wing groups on whether non-Muslims should be involved in buka puasa events.
They sat side by side with Christians, broke bread and exchanged opinions at a hotel in Shah Alam.
After breaking fast at the event organised by the Global Unity Network (Unity) and Christians for Peace and Harmony in Malaysia, several leaders from both sides took turns to highlight the importance of inter-faith harmony in Malaysia.
Federal Territory Mufti Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri said Islam also encourages the idea of inviting non-Muslims, the poor and needy to break fast together to understand the true meaning of Ramadan.
“When I am eating with the people here, these people are Christians… we do not try to incite issues that will cause religious disharmony.
“We should look towards removing this awkwardness between religions and look towards living together in harmony.”
Towards the end of his speech, Zulkifli said it is not difficult for Malaysians to live together in this multi-religious country if people of different beliefs were to put aside their differences and focus on the good things from their respective religions.
Unity president Shah Kirit Kakulal Govindji said the event showed how both religions can exchange ideas peacefully.
“Through this event, Muslims and Christians came together to talk about their differences and also make contacts.
“We are able to overcome religious disunity through getting the right information and getting to know one another,” he told The Malaysian Insight.
Commenting on the recent ruckus by Muslim groups in Penang over a buka puasa, Shah Kirit said they should be more considerate towards other religions.
His counterpart CPHM deputy chairman Lee Min Choon, however, was more diplomatic and said that it was an issue best left for Muslims to sort out themselves.
“It is a matter of Islamic understanding. I don’t know much about Islam, so I am in no position to talk about that,” he said.
He added that last night’s event proves that Christians and Muslims can work together to live together in harmony.
Shah Kirit also cautioned Muslim groups from having prejudices towards other religions and they should ensure they have proper information before sharing it.
“You must not have prejudice. You must be fair not only to your religion but other religions as well. And don’t jump to conclusions too quickly.”
Touching of the staging of Jerusalem’s Jubilee in Malacca, Shah Kirit said the title may have been misleading to the Muslims in Malaysia.
“The title gives the impression of the Jewish occupation of Palestine. So, it is a sensitive issue although the event may have nothing to do with it.”
Organisers of the Jerusalem Jubilee gathering said yesterday they will no longer hold the event at the Calvary Life Assembly Chinese Church, following protests from PAS and Perkasa.
The organisers of the All Malaysian-Golden Gate Revival Convocation (AMGGRC) said the event was a prayer gathering for Christians from Malaysia and the Asia-Pacific, and dismissed allegations from PAS that the event was aimed at promoting “Zionist Christianity” and “Jewish culture”.
But later yesterday, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he ordered police to ban the Jerusalem Jubilee gathering as the sensitivities of Muslims will be hurt if the event was allowed to go on.
Present at last night’s breaking of fast event were officials from the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais), Islamic Missionary Foundation(YADIM), Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP), Interfaith Spiritual Fellowship Malaysia (Insaf), Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi), Allied Coordinating Committee of Islamic NGOs Malaysia (ACCIN), Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS) and Christians for Peace and Harmony in Malaysia (CPHM).
This is Unity’s third buka puasa with Christians. Unity is a Muslim non-profit organisation which aims to promote interfaith unity among Malaysians.