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Muslims and Christians hold joint buka puasa session


United we stand: Mosque and church leaders exchanging buka puasa goodies in front of the Good Shepherd Church (with red roof) and An-Naim Mosque near Miri City in Sarawak.

United we stand: Mosque and church leaders exchanging buka puasa goodies in front of the Good Shepherd Church (with red roof) and An-Naim Mosque near Miri City in Sarawak.

MIRI: Muslims and Christians held a joint buka puasa session at a mosque and church built next to each other near Miri City.

The event yesterday was attended by Muslims and Christians from the Anglican, Catholic, SIB and Methodist churches and has become a unique tradition that reflects the special bond between people here of all faiths.

The An-Naim Mosque and Good Shepherd Church are less than 100 metres from each other in the Lutong bazaar, located about 10kms north of Miri City.

The management of the mosque and church share their car parks with each other.

On Fridays, the church will open its gate to let Muslims park their vehicles during prayer time.

On Sundays, the mosque will open its gate to let Christian churchgoers use the car parks.

On special occasions such as the buka puasa sessions, both the Muslims and Christians will come together for dinner.

Yesterday, Imam Mohd Zulkifli Mohd Adnan and the pastor of the church, Donald Jute, along with their groups and other church and mosque leaders exchanged cakes and fruits before proceeding to the mosque compound to break fast.

Sarawak Assistant Minister for Com­munications Datuk Lee Kim Shin was the guest of honour, along with Sarawak United Peoples Party secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting and party information chief Adam Yii.

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

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

According to Mohd Zulkifli and Jute, the mosque and church had been sharing car parks for the past 50 years.

“It has become a way of life for us to share car parks and meet for gatherings. To us, Muslims and Christians are one big family,” said Mohd Zulkifli.

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

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