Muslim NGO works to strengthen religious harmony in Sibu

Soon (fifth from left) presenting a memento to Nasyitah during the foundation’s visit to Sibu Tua Pek Kong Temple. With them are the foundation and temple committee members.

AN ISLAMIC non-governmental organisation (NGO) is conducting visits to churches and temples in Sibu, Sarawak, to strengthen religious and racial harmony in the country.

Hidayah Centre Foundation adviser Nasyitah Abdullah@Ting Ngik Kiew said the NGO, which was set up in 2005 primarily to help new converts, was keen to gain better understanding of other religions.

“There are different races and religions in Sibu. We are visiting places of worship of other religions as it is one of our annual activities,” she said after visiting Sibu Tua Pek Kong Temple.

Nasyitah said from these visits, the foundation members would learn more about Christianity and Buddhism.

“This is the first time we are doing this. From these visits, we hope to gain a better understanding about the teachings of other religions, as well as share view points.”

The group, she said, previously visited a Methodist church and planned to visit a Catholic church.

“Our foundation helps new believers understand Islamic teachings.

“But we also want them to have an insight into other religions. Though some of us are Muslim converts, we are still Chinese,” she said.

Temple committee chairman Soon Choon Hoo welcomed other religious groups to pay a visit.

“Sarawakians have been living harmoniously together. There have been no racial and religious issues among us.

“The visit by the foundation helps us understand each other better and also create a harmonious society,” said Soon.

Tua Pek Kong Temple is the oldest Chinese temple in Sibu, with a seven-storey pagoda and a history dating back to the 1850s.

For the temple visit, the foundation was led by its executive officer Mohamad Zuana Mustapha and a volunteer, Abdullah Rabbani.

The temple was also represented by its vice-treasurer Kong Sien Chieh, culture & education officer, Chua Chong Hian and committee member Terrence Chen. — By ANDY CHUA

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