I WAS very grateful to read a story that Assistant Minister Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman, who is in charge of Islamic Affairs in the State, has stated clearly that the Sarawak government would never allow any raid or intrusion of worship to happen here.
As a Christian, I am so thankful to God that I live in Sarawak.
Growing up in Kuching, where there is a good mix of Dayaks, Chinese and Malays, I have always had friends from different ethnic groups and religions.
We have always gone out for meals together and never had problems sharing a table together even though at times some of us would be eating kolok mee of the non-halal kind. My Muslim friends would be fine with that and we were the ones who would actually be feeling bad.
When I visited Malaya, I realised a scene like that would not be possible at all. Here we seem to understand each other and have always been 1Sarawak – for real. Not the cliche you hear from the mouths of politicians, but for real in how we live our lives.
When we visited each other’s open houses, there’s no feeling of was-was. We used to lepak at Muslim friends’ houses and they would in turn hang out at non-Muslim homes. Muslim parents treated me like one of the family and my parents had extra nephews and nieces from many ethnic groups.
I truly hope that we as Sarawakians will always defend our rights to be truly Sarawakian and to safeguard our shores from the culture of hate and intolerance practised elsewhere.
This is how The Star reported it:
Daud: State will prevent peninsula culture from being ‘imported’ to maintain harmony
By STEPHEN THEN
MIRI: The state government will never allow any raid on or intrusion into places of worship to happen in Sarawak.
This assurance was given by Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Islamic Affairs) Datuk Daud Abdul Rahman, yesterday.
He was reacting to a raid on a Methodist church by Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) and police.
This was an isolated case that happened in Peninsular Malaysia, and the state government would do its best to prevent the culture from being “imported” to Sarawak, he said.
“We do not want these sorts of people to incite similar incidents here. In Sarawak, we have racial and religious acceptance and tolerance unmatched by any in the country,” he said.
“I give you an example. Yesterday, the Islamic Centre in Kuching held a talk about fasting. We invited non-Muslims to come. Many Chinese came.”
He explained that the talk was meant to create greater understanding about the fasting month, and Muslims and non-Muslims attended in big numbers.
In fact, he said, many Chinese gave donations to charity projects carried out by Muslims and Muslim organisations this month.
“During the breaking of fast, many non-Muslims join their Muslims friends and colleagues. Muslims also join in charity projects carried out by their non-Muslim friends and colleagues,” he said.
He pointed out that in Sarawak, there was never any problem with cooperation between Muslims and non-Muslims.
“We want to continue to maintain it. We will keep out any unhealthy culture from the peninsula from spreading to Sarawak,” he told reporters here after breaking fast with orphans at Rumah Peryatim Miri on Saturday night.
Daud said Sarawakians of all races and religions should have a peace of mind that the state government would not condone any discrimination against any religion or its adherents.
He also warned political parties in Sarawak against turning religious matters into political issues.
“In fact, the case in Selangor should have been handled amicably by Jais and the church management without public controversy. Both sides could have easily discussed what had actually taken place. The issue could have been resolved quietly.”
The raid on Damansara Utama Methodist Church last week was carried out by Jais enforcement officers and the police after they purportedly received complaints that Muslims were gathering with Christians inside the church compound.
The raiders claimed they received complaints from certain people that the organisers were preaching to the Muslims because the words “Koran” and “prayers” were used.
However, the church pastor later told the media that the gathering was actually a dinner that was held to give thanks to all those who had helped to raise funds for an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign. Those who had helped were Muslims and non-Muslims.