BSC KUCHING: The Interfaith Harmony Walk 2019 took off and I was among the last few participants who were behind the crowd, together with a few parishioners and our Parish Rector, Fr Felix Au. We were at the same time cleaning up the streets while greeting and getting to know the others.
The street narrowed in after ten minutes of walking, forcing the pace to slow down. As I proceeded forward, I sort of bumped into Enche Sulaiman at the water station, and this incident made the rest of the walk meaningful.
Sulaiman is one of the committee members of Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE), who flew in from Kuala Lumpur the day before the event, and was invited by Puan Zabariah, one of the committee members to the Sarawak Islamic Center, to participate in the walk.
Soon after greeting each other, we began to throw questions at one another and exchange our understanding of our religious backgrounds. We shared about the various denominations among Christians and differences between our places of worship, such as Chapel, Church, Cathedral, Surau and Masjid.
Among the things I learnt was that our Muslim brothers would pray in the Surau daily and only pray in the Mosque on Fridays. We also shared about the orders of the religious of our respective religions.
Sulaiman then shared with me about PAGE, which aims to promote better understanding among different religions in Malaysia and to respect another’s form of prayer.
The walk felt rather short, so as we had so much more to share, we exchanged contact numbers. When we shared our photos later that day, he mentioned that he is looking forward to visiting our church to gain more understanding of the Catholic faith. What a fruitful chance encounter!
By Jason Kho