When all roads lead to peace

The participants of the Harmony Forum giving their views through online video conferencing.

MALAYSIA’S unique diversity gives it an excellent platform to promote interracial activities and harmonious living.

Universiti Sains Malaysia deputy vice-chancellor for sustainability and institutional development, Prof Dr Md Roslan Hashim, said there is no total domination of races in Malaysia and in Penang, there is a balanced demographic.

“We have a wide variety of languages, skin colours and cultures.

“What we have is unique and as such, we need to maintain our harmonious relations, ” he said while moderating the online Harmony Forum recently.

The Harmony Forum, attended by 60 religious leaders and worshippers, discussed various ways to maintain harmony in the country.

During the forum, four religious leaders shared their thoughts and views.

Muslim Tanjong (Pelita) Association founder Mohamed Nasir Mohiden spoke on maintaining harmony from the Muslim perspective.

He said that in Islam, harmony within the community is emphasised.

“This is so that everyone can live in peace.

“The concept of ethnic diversity in Islam teaches us that this diversity makes life colourful and beautiful and whether we are rich or poor, we should all be able to live with the same dignity, ” said Mohamed Nasir.

Representing the Christian community, Oneplace Sanctuary pastor Reverend B. Kumarathevan said several elements are vital to maintaining harmony.

“The first is tolerance, because regardless of our religion, race and culture, we should always have tolerance.

“Secondly comes respect. Respect is important. With respect, we can solve whatever misunderstandings we have.

“Then comes unity and gratitude. With unity, we will come together and stand together and with gratitude, we will be thankful that we are able to live in harmony in such a diverse country, ” he said.

Sharing the Hindu perspective, World Humanitarian Drive honorary secretary-general Prof Datuk Dr Doraisamy Govindasamy said dharma was a vital law.

“We have four types of dharma here – universal dharma, human dharma, social dharma and personal dharma.

“In this case, we would emphasise social dharma because in Hinduism, we believe that we always have to do good to our friends, family, religion, society and the nation.

“As I see today, we are living in a multicultural society and so we are already applying social dharma here.

“We have lived together in peace for the past 63 years and I believe together, we will build a good future for Malaysia, ” said Prof Doraisamy.

The last speaker, Buddhist Association Nibong Tebal secretary Khaw Aik Kin, said from the Buddhsim perspective, achieving harmony involves the self and the desires of one’s heart.

“In Buddhism, if we can take care of our heart and mind and drive them to a good direction, then we can have the most peaceful and harmonious community imaginable, ” said Khaw.

“Besides thinking about ourselves, we should think about friends around us and the people we cohabit the space with, ” he added.

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