KUCHING: Leaders around the world, including politicians, community leaders and civil society, should condemn extremism in all its forms and not incite hatred by demonising Islam or any other faiths, says the Sarawak Women and Family Council.
The council's chairman Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said no race or religion should be subject to fear and bigotry.
"No school, home or workplace should breed such harmful attitudes.
"All should be able to pray safely – whether in a mosque, church, temple, synagogue or at home," she told reporters after opening an interfaith harmony forum here on Monday (March 18).
Fatimah said the council condemned in the strongest terms the terror attacks in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, last Friday (March 15) which left 50 dead and dozens injured.
She said the council's multi-racial, multi-religious members stood in solidarity with people of all faiths in New Zealand and applauded its government's determination to maintain the unity, diversity and peace which the country was known for.
"As outraged as we are by the terrible massacre in Christchurch, our reactions need to be ones that break the polarisation and hate which is trying to divide communities.
"This is the time for all of us to unite across faiths, work to stop violence and replace it with understanding and respect.
"Let us never allow hatred and anger against Muslims or other faiths take root in our hearts and let us teach our children the same," she said.
Fatimah also said the Sarawak Interfaith Harmony Week celebration in Kuching this week was a timely opportunity for people to renew bonds of friendship, acceptance and respect.
She said Sarawak's history of peace and harmony among its diverse communities must not be taken for granted but actively encouraged.
"It is everybody's responsibility to contribute through words, actions and activities so that peace, harmony, unity and solidarity will prevail not only in Sarawak but throughout the world," she added.