KOTA KINABALU, (Feb 8) — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said mutual respect among the various communities of different religion and culture could prevent conflict from potentially hampering national unity and development.
“Each of us has our own religion and entitled to certain rights. But when an issue such as this (citing ‘Allah’) happen, we should appropriately resolve it by respecting each other’s religion and culture.
“So when we have this respect we have unity, and the government can smoothly bring development and progress to the people,” he told reporters after launching the World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) 2014 here today.
Kurup who is also the Promotion on Understanding and Harmony among Religious Organisations Committee chairman, emphasised that all religions advocated unity and desire to maintain it through understanding the beliefs of others and their sensitivities.
Earlier, the minister led a group in a ‘harmony travelogue and walk’ activity at Bukit Padang which entailed visiting houses of worship and listening to religious leaders’ views on interfaith harmony.
The places of worship that the group visited were Kota Kinabalu Buddha Tzer Ying Temple, Mary Immaculate Church, Sri Pasupatinath Temple and Masjid Nurul Hikmah.
Meanwhile, state Community Development and Consumer Affairs minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid who attended the WIHW 2014 launch and participated in the walkabout, proposed that Jalan Khidmat in Bukit Padang be renamed ‘Jalan Harmoni’, considering the side-by-side location of the houses of worship along the route.
She said the route could even be a draw for tourists to see the harmony that existed among the local community despite their religious and racial diversity.
“In life we cannot be too extreme in our religion. So this route would be a reminder to us to maintain that harmony,” she told reporters. — BERNAMA