23rd September 2017 marks an important milestone in the history of Sarawak.
A Harmony Walk with the theme ‘Unity is our Calling’ was jointly organised by the Islamic Information Centre, the Association of Churches in Sarawak, the Bahai, the Buddhist, the Hindu and the Sikh Associations.
The walk was an expression of Sarawakians’ desire for unity and to live in harmony with each other. It sought to demonstrate that religions can, and ought to, unite rather than to divide us.
Turnout for the 5.2 km walk around the heart of Kuching was promising. It attracted over 3000 registered participants. However, it was obvious that the actual turn-up was close to 4000.
The excellent weather bodes well for the multi-religious gathering. Participants were told to register as early as 6 am at the Kompleks Islam Sarawak (Jalan P Ramlee).
The programme started with tai chi and aerobics warm up sessions. This was followed by speeches from representatives of the participating associations.
Puan Zabariah Matali (CEO of Islamic Information Centre ) and also the chief organiser; Most Rev Simon Poh (Archbishop of Kuching), and Dr Fozdar from the Bahai Spiritual Assembly, but who also represented the other participating religious groups, spoke to the crowd.
In his address, Archbishop Simon Poh said the inaugural Harmony Walk was not a run where people competed, but a walk to allow participants to forge relationships irrespective of race, religion or social status.
The Harmony Walk was flagged off at 7.15 am. By 9.30 am, most participants had returned to the Kompleks Islam Sarawak where they were offered packed food and a chance to win some lucky draw prizes.
To resonate the importance of religious tolerance, the route covered 7 important places of worship that also served as water stations. The check points were: Sarawak Sikh Association Temple, St Thomas’ Cathedral, Tua Pek Kong Temple, Sri Srinivisagar Kaliamman Temple, Kuching Buddhist Society, Spiritual Assembly of Bahai’s and St Joseph’s Cathedral.
The atmosphere throughout the Harmony Walk was one of ‘HOPE’. It was a happy sight, looking at the smiling faces of concerned Sarawakians. Citizens, wishing to build a better future for our country. It is great that Sarawak is showing the way!