Street of peace and harmony

(From right) A guide leading Chow, Anwar and other representatives to visit religious sites along Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling in Penang. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

GRAB a copy of the pamphlet with self-guided map called the ‘Journey of Harmony’ to get an insight into the five religious sites along Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling in Penang.

Created in reference to the street known locally as the ‘Street of Harmony’, the map marks the location of Kapitan Keling Mosque, Sri Maha Mariamman Temple, Goddess of Mercy (Kuan Yin) Temple, St. George’s Church and the Acheen Street Mosque.

All the places of worship are in close proximity with one another and easily accessible by foot.

The ‘Journey of Harmony’ provides brief history on the religious sites and their relevance to the early community settlements, including the European, Chinese, Indian and Malay.

The map, a product of Think City Penang and Arts-Ed, also includes snippets of information on the sites’ structure layout, architecture and their religious and cultural significance.

Think City Penang chairman Datuk Anwar Fazal said the project engaged people of various communities who live within the area.

“The street is an amazing asset where many religions in Malaysia are located just next door to one another.

“You can hear the call to prayers, the bells of the church, the drums of the temple and the smell of joss sticks.

“The people here provide a good ‘upkeep’ on the tradition.

“There are many shared elements when it comes to offering prayers among the various communities. Devotees use flowers during festivals and the lunar cycle is also being taken into consideration,” he said.

Anwar told reporters after launching the pamphlet recently at The Star Pitt St.

St. George’s Church in-house guide Helenn Wevers, who is part of the initiative, said visitors would get a better idea on the street with organised information on its history, architecture and religious practices.

“Irrespective of colours and culture, this is a time for everyone to get together and learn about different religions,” she said.

Masjid Kapitan Keling majlis qaryah president Meera Mydin said it took a concerted effort for all the places of worship to be highlighted.

“Everyone is together in this. It becomes an example of religious tolerance among all the races living in this street,” he said.

Goddess of Mercy Temple secretary Datuk Lye Siew Weng said the project helped to reduce misunderstanding and conflicts among one another.

“By engaging all the communities here, it is another step forward towards maintaining peace and harmony,” he added.

Also present at the launching were Masjid Lebuh Acheh secretary Widad Rawa and Church of Assumption representative J.P. Vincent.

State exco member Chow Kon Yeow, who launched the event, said the map gave an insight into the shared values of the ‘Street of Harmony’ that saw the coexistence of various religions and cultures.

“Religious buildings were constructed as meeting points for the early settlers to obtain spiritual solace and socialise,” he said.

The ‘Journey of Harmony’ is a precursor to many more rejuvenating projects in George Town aimed at improving connectivity and accessibility.

Copies of the pamphlet in English and Bahasa Malaysia are available at The Star Pitt St, the tourism offices and the five religious sites.

Visitors can call 04-2633471 to take part in guided walks carried out by a team of well-trained guides.

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