KUALA LUMPUR: The sweltering heat did not stop Malaysians of various religions and races to come together for the “Solidarity4Peace” rally.
Clad in white, participants began gathering near the Sogo shopping mall from as early as 7am for the rally.
Carrying placards and banners with slogans promoting peace, and chanting “hidup keamanan” (long live peace) and “tolak terrorisme” (reject terrorism), the large crowd slowly made its way to Dataran Merdeka.
The event finally got underway at about 8.10am with the singing of Negaraku, followed by a brief prayer led by the Grand Imam of Masjid Negara Tan Sri Syaikh Ismail Muhammad.
Several government leaders and politicians, including foreign envoys, then took to the stage to convey their message of peace in light of the New Zealand massacre.
Among the religious leaders who spoke were Federal Territories mufti Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri, Christian Federation of Malaysia chairman Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim and Malaysian Gurdwaras Council president Sardar Jagir Singh.
Also present were Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Taoism president Datuk R.S. Mohan Shan, Venerable Sing Kan of the Malaysian Buddhist Association and Sangitaa Subramaniam from the Bahai Community of Malaysia.
However, the most heartfelt speech was delivered by Zarina Shuib, the aunt of 17-year-old Muhammad Haziq Mohd Tarmizi, who was slain in the terror attack in Christchurch.
Zarina said while the family was devastated by their loss, she had accepted this as the will of Allah.
The event concluded with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof signing the Kuala Lumpur Peace Declaration 2019.
Some of those who attended the rally stayed behind to help clean up the rubbish at the venue.
The volunteers, clad in green vests, combed the streets to ensure the iconic tourist monuments along Dataran Merdeka were “spick and span”.
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