IT LOOKED like any other Chinese New Year open house complete with lion dancing and face-changing shows but the event was spiritually different as the organisers were Chinese Muslims.
The annual event, held at SJK(C) Chee Wen Subang Jaya, was jointly organised by the Hidayah Centre Foundation, He Ping Muslim Chinese Society and Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (Macma), with the support of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim).
It was held to mark the festive celebration, foster ties among the many races and address misconceptions about the religion.
The open house also featured a children’s colouring competition and lucky draw.
“Events such as this aim to help reduce the misunderstandings about Islam in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious community in Malaysia,” said Hidayah Centre Foundation programme director Zun Arif Hakim Abdul Rahman.
“We’ve been organising the Chinese New Year celebrations since 2011. It has grown to such a scale that we are able to hold such events in every state,” he said, adding that the organisation also observed the harvest festivals of Gawai in Sarawak and Kaamatan in Sabah.
“We seek the opinion of scholars or mufti to get clarification on issues about the celebration and ensure nothing goes against Islam,” he added.
Macma vice-president Sharin Low said unity was very important when living in a country with diverse cultures and people.
“I have seen non-Muslim tourists who are curious about Islam and are interested in visiting mosques.
“We should encourage such interests to address the misconceptions associated with the religion,” he said.
Jakim deputy director head Paimuzi Yahya encouraged more such open houses to be organised to foster better relationships.
He said mosques should open their doors to non-Muslims so they could get a better understanding of Islam.
Also present were Hidayah Centre Foundation chairman Nicholas Sylvester, wife of Selangor Mentri Besar Datin Seri Shamshida Taharin and Kelana Jaya parliamentary coordinator Datuk Ong Chong Swen.