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Sarawak, Sarawak autonomy, Sarawakian, Sarawakian unity, Uncategorized

A Christmas story: How unity continues to shine in Sarawak

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IT has indeed been a very Merry Christmas here in Sarawak.

On the third day of Christmas yesterday, Good Shepherd Anglican Church in Lutong, Miri held a joint Christmas gathering.

It was attended by members of the congregation of Masjid An Naim as well as Christians from various denominations.

I’m sure in recent years you’ve heard of Good Shepherd Lutong and Masjid An Naim. Both places of worship were highlighted by the media recently as shinning examples of religious unity and rightly so.

In case you didn’t know, the church opens its carpark to the congregation of the mosque on Fridays, while on Sundays the mosque let’s the church’s parishioners park there.

This has happened for the past 50 years. Yes for five decades, both congregations have happily supported each other.

“It has become a way of life for us to share car park and meet for gatherings. To us Muslim and Christians we are one big family,” priest in charge Revd Donald Jute said.

Donald said it is natural for the mosque and church to help each other during public gatherings.

“This spirit of mutual acceptance comes naturally here,” he said.

Mosque chairman Ithnaini Bohari said it has become natural for the Muslims here to share whatever facilities and occasions with the Christians and other communities the area.

“It is so natural to us that it is part of our daily way of life,” he said.

That really sums it up doesn’t it? It really is natural and part of our daily lives in Sarawak.

This unity that we have in our State is not something we just made up to suit political rhetoric. It is something that has been nurtured and protected throughout the ages.

We have been able to live our Sarawakian way of life because our great State’s leaders have always advocated true unity and never used religion or race to divide us. We have always been Anak Sarawak no matter what our ethnicity or religious beliefs.

Our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Adenan Satem also highlighted how special this year’s celebration of Christmas is as Christmas Eve was also Maulidur Rasul, particularly with such religious strife being witnessed elsewhere.

“It shows that we are able to live in a spirit of mutual respect in a multi-religious and multicultural society,” he said in his Christmas message.

Adenan and his family also wished all every celebrating a Merry Christmas.

I am so proud to be a Sarawakian. I am so glad that Adenan continues to defend our Sarawakian way of life. Hallelujah indeed!

To see our CM’s full Christmas message click here.

The report from The Star:

Christians and Muslims have joint Christmas celebration in Miri church

MIRI: IN what has become a unique tradition here, Christians and Muslims held a joint Christmas gathering at a church in Miri on Sunday evening.

The event was attended by Muslims from the Masjid An Naim and Christians from the Anglican Good Shepherd Church Lutong and Catholic, SIB and Methodist churches.

The celebration was held in the compound of the Good Shepherd Church.

The Masjid An Naim and Good Shepherd Church are located less than 100m from one another in Lutong bazaar, about 10km from the city proper.

Sarawak Assistant Minister for Communications Datuk Lee Kim Shin was the guest of honour along with Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) secretary general Datuk Sebastian Ting and leaders from the Buddhist, Tua Pek Kong and Miri Indian Association.

Lee, who is State Assemblyman for Senadin, said the state government is pleased to see such unique racial and religious unity in Miri and Sarawak.

“Where else can one find churches and mosques and temples sharing facilities with each other and sharing food and fellowship like families.

“We must preserve this at all costs because it is a unique treasure.

“Being able to enjoy such sincere religious and racial acceptance is priceless,” he said.

Pastor of the church Donald Jute said the mosque and church have been sharing car parks for the past 50 years.

“It has become a way of life for us to share car park and meet for gatherings. To us Muslim and Christians we are one big family,” he said.

Pastor Donald said it was natural for the mosque and church to help each other in public gatherings.

“This spirit of mutual acceptance comes naturally here,” he said.

Chairman of the mosque, Ithnaini Bohari said it has become natural for the Muslims here to share whatever facilities and occasions with the Christians and other Chinese here.

“It is so natural to us that it is part of our daily way of life,” he said.

Lee said the spirit of moderation in Sarawak will be preserved and the state government under CM Tan Sri Adenan Satem will spare no effort to keep out extremist elements from the state.

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