06/21/2016, 14.51
MALAYSIA
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Sarawak: Christians celebrate iftar with Muslims

by Joseph Masilamany

Archbishop John Ha took part in the meal that breaks the Ramadan fast "as a sign of friendship. Today we want to build peace by focusing on what unites us. " Organized by the Islamic Information Centre, the event was held in the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Kuching.

Kuching (AsiaNews) - Christians in the Sarawak State accompanied Muslims in the ritual breaking of their Ramadan fast (iftar). The occasion was organized by the Islamic Information Centre for friendship and sharing (IIc) and took place in the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Kuching, with the two communities celebrated in harmony.

Serawak State, located in Borneo, has a predominantly Christian population and is considered the "the most peaceful area in Malaysia". Msgr. John Ha, Archbishop of Kuching, attended the event thanking Zabaria Matali, IIC President, for having conceived the initiative. The prelate said that some of the Christians present also shared the daily fast with Muslims, to show solidarity with them during Ramadan.

In his speech during the evening, the Archbishop stressed the importance of an inter-religious gesture of friendship like this, "in a multi-religious and multi-racial Malaysia, where there may be ugliness and beauty, depending on how one treats others. The ugliness takes the form of suspicion, contempt, aggression and conviction, leading to hatred and violence. "

On the contrary, he continued, "beauty comes from harmony and peace among people of different faiths and ethnicities who respect each other and the fact that they are like the different colors of the rainbow that crosses the sky." Peace, according to the prelate, is not synonymous with tolerance, because "tolerance implies mutual antipathy, and the mutual respect and acceptance typical of believers in God make space for each other in society."

The Archbishop stated that there are differences between Muslims and Christians, but "today we focus on what unites. Both Islam and Christianity give great attention to the practices of Ramadan and Lent, that God has given us to build our relationship with Him and with one another".

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